Hi everyone, our Lean Tour of Japan started on April 13, 2014 with 14 Black Belt participants with our Lean coaches David Chao and Jake Cameron. Our first day started with visit of Nissan Yokohama plant tour. This plant is the oldest of the three plants in Japan. This plant is currently used for manufacturing five engine models with yearly production of 0.5 million unit. We visited the two production lines. Overall the plant is very well laid out in terms of space utilization.
Some of the interesting features were the floor colouring for differentiation of working, walking and vehicles movement and use of andon lights mounted on each machine and each zone indicating machine operating ok as green, yellow as some potential issue and red as unserviceability as visual sign for understanding the health of production line operation.
The parts are being provided by diferrent suppliers in different colour kanban tote boxes transported on creform racks. The kanban kits are being provided eight times during the 8 hours shift and empty kits are being replaced with filled kits.
The other example of visual factory was production dashboard for each line indicating the target for the day and current production numbers. The plant is a 5S plant, however the group was able to identify some opportunities for improvement in the area. The production performance boards were also seen in each area.
The other salient feature was the Takumis building the VR38 engines. The dedication and skill-set of Takumis was exceptional as this engine requires exceptional precision to build this engine due tight tolerance limits. The production line is setup on cell concept and each worker was able to execute multiple operations with point of use setup.
The other important feature of the plant was the CI efforts in mistake proofing and saw numerous examples of mistake proofing tools created by the employees.
The second visit of the day was to see the ANA Maintenance facility which started with intoduction briefing of the ANA operation, flights and its operation from HND airport. The airline operation is combined efforts of pilots, inflight crew, ground support staff and maintenance staff. The takt time is 2 flights per min. The ANA operates from four runways in HND airport.
After the briefing, tour of the maintenance hangars was done. The hangars are also very clean and we witnessed use of 5S and visual factory. Safety was very emphasized throughout the tour.
The other salient feature which was noticeable was the crew briefings and stretchout exercise for the startup of the shift. The crew was also seen doing pre-maintenance on the equiments when the aircraft was not in the hangar.
Our group also saw use of parts kits and use of used carpets for laying out parts. The Hangar had one central tool store location for employee use. The trip was followed with dinner in a Japanese restaurant in order to get experience of Japanese culture and their food. Overall it was great experience of Lean blended with exposure to Japanese culture.