How to do Lean – the kaizen blitz

I was with Taiichi Ohno at Toyota Gosei and Mr. Iwata his assistant came over to me and said, “I am leaving Toyota Gosei and want to come to America to teach, would you help me?” I said, yes.

I arranged with Jake Brake, a Danaher company, to run the first kaizen blitz in America. We promoted and fifty people signed up; each paying $5,000 each (for an event we knew nothing about.) Iwata came with Nakao and ran “Five Days and One Night ( very little sleep). It was the most powerful training event I have ever seen.

Day one in a classroom, they taught us about JIT and how we were going to totally change the plant from machine centers to product one piece flow. We divided into five teams with ten people on each team. And on Tuesday, we analyzed the plant and on Wednesday we moved fifty machines.

It was pure chaos. On Thursday, we taught the plant people how to function in a totally new way. We gave them a long list of things to do.

On Friday, the teams made presentations.

At first, the plant was left in chaos but after a few months, most of the inventory was gone and gave Danaher tons of cash which they used to buy other companies and grow from a two billion dollar company to over twenty billion.

You want to do lean. Learn how to run the kaizen blitz.

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