The Wisdom of Yoshiki Iwata

Yoshiki Iwata

A fan and lifelong learner of TPS was very kind to share with me two important photos capturing the wisdom of Yoshiki Iwata (d. 2001) from the early 1990s.

Mr. Iwata, mentored by Taiichi Ohno (one of Ohno-san’s best students), was a co-founder (along with Chihiro Nakao) in 1987 of the world-famous Shingijutsu kaizen consultants.

It is a marvelous document. It begins with annotations on page one, followed by clean version of pages one and two. Page 1 describes “Ninjutsu Management.” Join the Henjin Crew! Please carefully study and reflect on these pages.

The person who provided the images to me said:

This document was created for me after the 2nd or 3rd kaizen he consulted with us on at HON. After many hours spending time learning to see and calling me and others concrete heads, I asked him if he would sit down and walk me through the long-term view. This was the result. It meant a lot to me that he took the time to explain it. Not his typical style.

A succinct explanation of TPS. Remarkable. It illustrates how misguided and misinformed the Lean industrial complex has been for decades.

Side note: I had the good fortune to hear one of Mr. Iwata’s lectures about TPS when I was a manufacturing business unit manager at Pratt & Whitney circa late-1994. He easily held everyone’s attention. It was memorable for the stern but uplifting message. In his eyes, Pratt & Whitney was decades behind the times in manufacturing and management technology, not unlike Iwata-san’s view of most other manufacturing businesses at the time — and still today 😖.

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