13th May 2015

Only produce what you need

To be great in business, only produce what you need and stop if there is a problem, says one of the world’s leading trainers of lean management, Akinori Hyodo, President of one of Toyota’s Training facilities in Japan.

He recently presented a two-day Lean Masterclass in Auckland sharing the philosophies and tools of lean management, based on the Toyota Production System – long recognised as one of the most efficient and productive management systems on earth.

However, while those two principles seem simple, they invoke many challenges for organisations. Hyodo suggests that one of the biggest challenges for New Zealand business leaders is to push themselves beyond their traditional comfort zone and accept more risk, as this is when sustained improvement will come.

“If you are serious about improving you need to live near the edge as this challenges you and forces you to think differently ” he says.

Hyodo sees great opportunities for improvement in New Zealand businesses, suggesting it will take time to develop leaders with this mind-set alongside a framework of developing people so that the entire organisation benefits.

“If the top doesn’t change their thinking and actions, those below them won’t follow” he advocates.

Lean management philosophies centre on delivering quality goods and services at the best price quickly and efficiently by identifying problems and empowering employees to create innovative solutions to eliminate waste, says the event’s host, Peter Cox of Simply Lean Business Solutions in a media statement.

“Lean is applicable beyond just manufacturing, it’s about business being clear about what their customer values and then eliminating waste from all processes so they can deliver true value.”

Hyodo suggests many company leaders lose focus on the long-term as they are driven by short term thinking.

Cox reinforces this. “The sustainable long term result is reduced costs, shorter lead-times, improved quality, better safety, and strong involvement of employees creating a highly engaged culture of continuous improvement.”

Published in New Zealand Management – May 2015 edition