Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Japan Lean Experience

This month I am putting together the final touches in preparation for my trip to Japan in April 2018, attending the “Japan Lean Experience” with my colleagues from Tokyo .

This will be my fourth week long homage to the spiritual home of Kaizen and Lean thinking, and I will be traveling with a small band of brothers from NZ seeking inspiration from the world’s leading practitioners of Lean Management.

Our variety of factory tours provide a perfect combination of education, exposure to best-in-class Lean practices, unique relationship building, in-depth tours, interactive discussion, and comfort.

In addition to the formal tours, there will be time to take in some sights and experience Japan culture and of course a ride on the bullet train!

The Shinkansen, or Bullet Train cruises at between 280-320KPH and is one of those experiences that is not to be missed. I confess that this for me is one of the highlights, and epitomizes what Japan is all about, efficient, reliable, high quality and on time!


Of course, we have the home of 5S, with everything in it’s place, and a place for everything, there is so much inspiration in their factories, offices and even around town!


Japan also has history and culture by the bucket load and there are some amazing things to see and visit whilst you make your way around.

I’ll be adding a few extra days to the tour and our group will take in some of the sights. A personal favourite is Kyoto, the ancient capital, and a deeply religious place.

It is also a place that brings home some of the things that mankind is not so proud of, the atomic bomb. I recommend a visit to Hiroshima for a poignant reminder of the horror of war and devastation it brings.


Finally, there’s plenty of great food to try and taste. I am pleased to announce that Japan has pizza and pasta and Hagen Daas ice cream, but the local cuisine is very special and well worth a try!

S A Partners will be running a one week study tour to Japan in the near future.

Focusing on the Food and Drink Sector

This month Andy Brunskill, Principle Consultant and Total Productive Maintenance lead at S A Partners has produced an excellent Case Study on improving process stability in a ‘Chewing Gum Based’ production process.  The case outlines the challenge facing the company in the development of a future state for improvement and continued success.

Owing to the ongoing interest in our Food & Drink consulting & training services, we have also issued a focussed e-newsletter this month – if you are not on the mailing list – why not check it out here and register for the next one!

The Lean and Green Debate is Gaining Traction

In this article Charles Cohen of Prime Devices describes the reduced carbon foot that his organisation’s lean initiative produced as an ‘unexpected windfall’.

Cohen asserts that lean manufacturing can not only cut the carbon footprint of a plant or company, but of an entire industry.

Evidence about the size of the opportunity in integrating lean and green is accumulating. The publication of a new and comprehensive book on this subject is both topical and timely.  Creating a Lean & Green Business System is due to be published later this month. For a sneak overview of the book’s insights the link below details and event run by one of the authors that is due to take place 11th April at Greenwich University.