Monday, November 30, 2015

Japan Lean Tour Fall 2015 Video

Have you ever been to Japan, the country known as a "Lean specialist" ?

Well, your answer does not really matter because this LSI Japan Lean Tour goes far beyond your imagination! We cannot help inviting you to this life-changing event!

Here is the video from Japan Lean Tour Fall 2015. Enjoy!


Japan Tour - Compiled Video
from Lean Sensei Leanbelt on Vimeo.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Graduation Day for Greenbelt Service 2 Fall 2015 Class

Congratulations to the Greenbelt Service 2 Fall 2015 class! Well done everyone for achieving your lean status. Your enthusiasm and humor made the class that much more enjoyable!







Lean Father - GB-SV 2 YVR Fall 2015
from Lean Sensei Leanbelt on Vimeo.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Graduation Day for Greenbelt Service 1 Fall 2015 Class

Congratulation, to all the participants of the Greenbelt Service 1 Class of Fall 2015. A special shout-out to a few participants who portrayed incredible lean leadership qualities; Angela Ip who took the Bronze medal, Scott Bastian who took the Silver medal and Anand Gandhi who took the Gold Medal. Well done everyone!  Make sure to check out this groups hilarious interpretation of the Lean Bachelor in their video below. 







The Bachelor-The Greenbelt Ceremony - GB-SV 1 YVR Fall 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Greenbelt Kaizen begins in Saskatoon!

The Greenbelt Saskatoon Fall 2015 program started at the beginning of this week, digging into their second module with a great value stream mapping session. Scroll down, to see the progress.  





Japan Lean Tour Fall 2015 - Blackbelts Perform Flash Mob

Blackbelts perform a flash mob in the middle of a Nagoya train station, on the Japan Lean Tour Fall 2015. The Blackbelt's philosophy is to be able to perform at "Anytime, in anyplace and with any challenge". The Blackbelts, were given the opportunity to show leadership in an unusual situation and were encouraged to demonstrate they can accomplish any given task. Have a look through the video bellow to see the 2015 Blackbelts flash mob. 




Greenbelt Service Genentech Fall 2015 Kick-Off

The Genentech Greenbelts Fall 2015 class have officially kicked-off this week. Scroll down to see all the innovative ways the participants have protected their eggs in the egg drop simulation. 








Monday, November 16, 2015

Tokyo Motor Show 2015 - President of Toyota's speech


Toyota introduced three new concept cars at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Watch the inspiring speech from the President of Toyota, Akio Toyoda and Ichiro Suzuki, the Miami Marlins baseball player. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Japan Lean Tour Fall 2015 - Day 4 Report

- Written by tour participant - John Young, Marvin Engineering 

To say that an organization, any organization of any size, can embrace and practice lean and continuous improvement is, what I have come to recognize through observation, a true understatement. The fact is, the organization can be as small as a corner convenient store to a whole country.

I started the Japan Executive Benchmarking Tour with the expectation of observing lean best practices at major manufacturing companies, but did not realize that I also observed that every day life in Japan has some elements of lean being practiced.

A great example is something as normal as meal service. Japanese Set Meals follow a very standardized process of how the courses were brought out, and every server knows what is coming up next and what needs to be cleared away. And the dishes were served on standardized plates or containers that are just the right size for the amount of food being presented. To itself, this can be implemented quite easily, but to serve a group of 30 plus people a ten course meal in under one hour without having to rush your customer through the meal is very difficult to successfully pull off without discipline in executing to a standardized process, using previously optimized sets of tools.

This brings me back to the visit to Nissan, where I discovered that it was mandatory for all 5th graders to go on field trips associated with some type of industrial base. They are trained early in their learning development to see what the best of lean practice looks like. In fact, it seems silly that we took the same route as the kids, stopped at the same information panel boards, played with the same hands-on displays, and most likely are being introduced to the same lean concepts and seeing them in action.


The biggest difference is that we are engaged in lean to enhance our businesses, whereas they are learning them so they can hopefully continue to apply these concepts through out their daily lives. I would venture to say that, by the time grade school is over, many Japanese youths have similar level of  understanding of lean concepts as white/green belts we work so hard to attain.

A very typical misconception for companies considering or starting lean and continuous improvement journey is that the best practices cannot be fully realized because our business is, for example, high mix and low volume, and lean is most beneficial for high volume production. 

While it may be easier to implement lean when product configuration is stagnant and change-overs are minimal, it is absolutely possible to apply lean to a high mix low volume industry. This was observed at Daiwa House, where the products are custom build homes constructed from pre-fabricated modules. While it is true that the basically elements of the modules are practically  the same, the overall final product delivered to the customer differ quite significantly But these customization did not translate to a significant increase to physical infrastructure or personnel. They are achieved through carefully thought out product design and manufacturing planning, focusing on the needs of the customer at all stages of the business process, continuously maximizing the potential of existing physical and talent resources, all critical keys for success in this product type and environment. And over time, a standardized set of processes and discipline can be set up to flow in any type of changes the customers are looking for at anytime, regardless of the products being produced.


The days of one-size-fits-all is rapidly disappearing as our day-to-day lives become increasingly and highly individualized. Industries are being pressured internally and externally to fulfill ever-changing demands at an accelerated rate in order to survive. While well-thought out and well practiced standardized process can help a company survive, lean practices and continuous improvement will help an entity thrive, whether you are the corner convenient store or a mega corporation.


Japan Lean Tour Fall 2015 - Day 2 Report

- Written by Matt Raynolds, Marvin Engineering

On Tuesday, our visit to the Nissan Yokohama Engine Factory gave us once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and chat with the number 1 "Takumi", Takumki Kurosawa (by coincidence his name is also Takumi). Takumi is translated as "master artisan". One of only 5 Takumis in existence that build the GT-R engine by hand, Mr. Kurosawa was extremely humble and gracious as he visited with us.

As a bonus,  Mr. Kurosawa had one of the 3 apprentices come out and meet us as well. She is the first female to ever make it this far, and it will take many more years before she can achieve the title of "Takumi".


Later in the afternoon, after another excellent Japanese lunch, we visited the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. We were able to learn about the history of Toyota and get a glimpse into Toyota's future plans.




All-in-all, a fantastic day and incredible close-up look at how the best of the best perform.

Lean Reflections Day in Kyoto, Japan

The Japan Lean Tour Fall 2015 has officially come to an end. We are honoured to host this tour and we hope all participants had an unforgettable experience. 

We spent an extra day with the executives and sponsors of programs in Kyoto, visiting several famous tourist spots including Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji temple and Kiyomizu temple.











Friday, November 6, 2015

Japan Lean Tour - Day 4

Time flies. It was already the last day of the tour for the Blackbelt participants. The last plant we visited was Daiwa House, Japan's largest homebuilder specializing in prefabricated houses as well as the construction of factories, shopping centers and other commercial facilities.

After the tour, we visited Todaiji, a famous Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara. The most interesting thing about Nara is that you can see friendly deers almost everywhere.

Congratulations to all Blackbelt participants for completing the Japan Lean Tour module! Tomorrow we will head to Kyoto to continue the trip with the executive participants and program sponsors.





Having lunch at Daiwa House's cafeteria

Todaiji Temple



Farewell dinner for Blackbelt participants

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Japan Lean Tour - Day 3

On the 3rd day of the Japan Lean Tour, we visited the Mitsubishi Electric and Toyota production plants in Nagoya. It was very fascinating to see how Lean truly applies to these companies to make every step of productions extremely efficient and effective. Instead of making Lean as a separate initiative and effort, Japanese people naturally embrace Lean in their daily life. After the plant tours, we had a fantastic dinner with the executive participants and program sponsors.