Akemashite omedetou!

Being Happy New Year in Japanese (or so I’m told). Why in Japanese? Because ‘change seems to be the only constant’ and the Japanese company Toyota have been adept at implementing changes to its production system through ‘lean manufacturing’ since the 1950’s, making it the largest and arguably most efficient car manufacturer in the World. 

Interestingly aspects of Lean or Lean Six Sigma have spread from manufacturing into Health, Banking and Insurance to name but a few. 

Marie Kondo in her series Tidying Up, applies her own interpretation of a Japanese lean tool called 5S to organise and declutter people’s homes. Marie applies a spiritual element of holding an item to see if it ‘sparks joy’, you won’t see this on Toyota’s shop floor but an Operator will decide if an item is needed by asking if it adds value. 

5S represents 5 steps to improving a work environment: Seiri (Sort) keeping only essential items, Seiton (Set in Order) organise items and give each a designated place, Seiso (Shine) keep work areas clean and orderly maintaining equipment, Seiketsu (Standardise) create standards for both organisation and processes and Shitsuke (Sustain) check to ensure new practices are maintained.

If your business suffers from anything affecting quality, cost, delivery, safety or people, an awareness of Lean Six Sigma could be helpful and one to adopt in 2020! There are plenty of resources on the web, but should you need pointing in the right direction email me at Cameron@h-cca.com


December 11, 2019


Louisa Holt