Shingijutsu USA held a Super-Genba-Kaizen Workshop at a company in Connecticut last week. It was the same company that I visited several times in 2014 and 2015 where Chihiro Nakao led kaizens and which formed the basis for the book Kaizen Forever: Teachings of Chihiro Nakao.
Kaizen Forever, like most books, represents a snapshot in time. I am happy to say that the company’s kaizen efforts are continuing at a great pace in between visits by sensei Nakao-san. This is in contrast to kaizen led by other consultants and what happens in most other organizations. Kaizen diminishes after sensei leaves and picks up again when sensei returns. In other words, people do not apply what they have learned – neither the managers nor the associates. They lose the kaizen spirit and relax.
As Nakao-san says: “When kaizen stops, everything stops.”
I had not visited the company since September 2015. They had made impressive gains over the prior two years. My reaction upon visiting them last week was WOW. It was amazing. I saw a dozen examples of home-built right-sized equipment that replaced complex equipment with much larger footprints and which cost far more to run. I saw examples of production cells that previously occupied hundreds of square feet were now just 25 or 50 square feet. I saw SWIP go from 500+ pieces to 7 pieces. I saw a 5000 square foot tool room emptied and converted into a production area that is now producing millions of dollars in new sales. WOW.
The continuation and evolution of Nakao-san’s kaizen teachings were evident in ways both large and small. There was widespread evidence of people thinking deeply and using their creativity and ingenuity to solve problems. I was amazed by what had been accomplished in this business over the last three years under Nakao-san’s guidance. I was WOWed. The people are doing something great.
To me, Shingijutsu-kaizen actually means “Shingijutsu-WOW.” Throughout my experience with Shingijutsu dating from 1994, this has been my consistent reaction. The improvements are so impressive that the only reaction that one can have is WOW. Simplification (so easy that even the owners can make a part), flow, zero-defects, etc. Fantastic!
As we were speaking, Mr Nakao-san took out his red brush pen and drew this image for me. It reads “Shingijutsu-WOW.” This brings to people a sense of joy, happiness, and a bright future.
I hope that you too will someday experience Shingijutsu-WOW.
Disclosure: I have no business or financial relationship with Shingijutsu USA.