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!

shingi-wow1As 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.

4 Responses to Shingijutsu-WOW

  1. Sid Joynson says:

    I attended my first Shingijitsu ‘5 day and 4 night’ workshop in Connecticut in 1991. It was my first encounter with real TPS. My own WOW! was to be introduced to the power of one piece flow, the effectiveness of ‘Just doing it’, and how fast changes can be made.

  2. brandon says:

    I have become a huge supporter and believer of Kaizen and still learning and developing my knowledge. When I read articles like this or books like this I begin dreaming of what it is like to work at a place where people like Nakao and Art Byrne personally teach Kaizen. I feel that the atmosphere is electric and alive with people learning and feeling proud of the accomplishments they make. Then I start thinking of how I could listen to or participate in Kaizen from Nakao or Byrne. I would love to meet Nakao or Byrne and possibly learn kaizen directly from them. Are there any opportunities for outsiders to be able to participate and learn from these greats. I love your website and your passion for Kaizen. You as well as many give hope to people like myself to keep pushing and to learn the true meaning of Kaizen. It is awesome to think of what the experiences you have had in your career were like and how much I want to experience something like this. Thank you for your passion!!

    • Bob Emiliani says:

      Hi Brandon – Thank you for your comments! Well-facilitated kaizen is electric; a lot of fun and a great learning experience to apply elsewhere. For kaizen participation opportunities, see http://www.shingijutsuusa.com. As far as I know, Art Byrne only facilitates kaizen within the portfolio of companies of the private equity company that he is associated with.

  3. Esach SH says:

    Dear Bob
    A very good sharing. And I will put it into practice. The “WOW” truly spells the spirit of Kaizen.

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