Dec 11 2011
General statements about “the Japanese people” are never right. There are 130M of them, all with different personalities, and >1M companies. There is more to Lean than customer orientation and continuous improvement, namely specific tools developed over 60+ years, which must be learned rather than reinvented. People involvement, while necessary, is not sufficient. Company culture transcends national culture. We worked for Unilever in the Netherlands, the UK, Italy and the US, and the plants in all these different countries had much more in common than with plants of other companies in the same countries. Each country is special in some way, but these special characteristics mean little on a production shop floor. The only people who bring them up are those who want to prevent change.