Carlos Fukamizu: When the Company is Managed by a Method Rather than an Individual

Verslo zinios Lithuania interviews Carlos Fukamizu – October 2012

Carlos Fukamizu: When the Company is Managed by a Method Rather than an Individual

Strategy: Productivity can increase up to 350% if the work processes are organized well

More production in shorter time – a “Lean” production method is famous by this management
philosophy. It became fashionable already to implement this method in Lithuania, but it should
become a standard in order to obtain benefits from the investments.

Carlos Fukamizu, a member of the association Honsha which joins former Toyota experts and
managers, expert of the Lean system, declares, – “A client should not pay for the production
drawbacks and wastes. A client is God, therefore sometimes it is necessary to take care of him
more than usual. Company’s duty is to take care of that.” Carlos visit to Lithuania was regarding
the partnership between Honsha and “Lean.lt”, as well as taking into account the needs of the
Lithuania companies to learn more about this method.

After over 20 years of lean experience at the Toyota company, Mr. Fukamizu points out that the
lean method is something more than just philosophy. Former Toyota engineer says,- “Many
companies just ignore a “Lean” method since they do not understand it. However, it should
become actually the way of life and guidelines to everybody, from the manager to a front-line
worker. Reading a book or attending 80 hours long seminar is not sufficient. The employees
should be trained on a continuous basis in order to detect the chances for improvement and
eliminate wastes in the production chain. This method should be a root from which a plant
would grow.”

It can be used everywhere and by everybody.

One of the “Lean” features is a change of way of thinking, and therefore the following rule is
applied in the Toyota divisions: “I always think how to do my work better.”

The lean expert says, – “Gradually all employees become the self-training coachers. The
employees of Toyota think not only about the improvement of their individual efficiency, but also
about the issues of production, quality, safety, and administration. If an employee performs his
work in 5 seconds less time, it is a good result, but if the whole team achieves this, the results
are much better.” If this philosophy is implemented the company is being managed by the
strategy rather than by an individual.”

“Lean” means a system which includes different methods and tools such as 5S (visual workplace
management), Kaizen (continuous improvement), standardized operations, SMED (change-over
time reduction), TPM (total productive maintenance), Kanban (inventory scheduling system),
VSM (value stream mapping), A3 (planning), Hoshin Kanri (strategic planning/strategic
management). Mr. Fukamizu points out, – “For example, using SMED methodology Toyota has
reduced the change-over time from 3 hours down to 7 minutes. Time and resources are wasted
both by large and small companies, so the size of the company does not play an important role.
Lean methods can be used also to manage your personal life. You should just use your brain.”

It is a standard rather than fashion.

Vidas Petraitis, the manager of “Lean.lt”, says that efficient use of the system starts by
establishing weak points of the process. For example, somebody walks around in vain and
repeats the same tasks. If such activity does not create added value, Lean methodology can
be called for assistance.

Mr. Petraitis explains,- “It is possible to hammer in the nail into the board with the brick as well,
but bricks are usually used for the construction. The most useful tool should be chosen for each
case. According to this philosophy, one should always target for better results and solve emerging

According to Mr. Petraitis, majority of Lithuanian companies consider this method as a fashion,
whilst Western countries apply it as a standard. However, Lithuanian companies also develop
their attitudes, they are interested and try to apply the system on their own or address
consultants for assistance.

Alvydas Tamosiunas, SPS coordinator, UAB “Schmitz Cargobull Baltic”

We are implementing the system starting from the end of 2005, and the results are already evident.
Productivity of the assemble line increased by 350%. Assemble of one tractor vehicle required 10
workers earlier, while only 4 people are engaged in the process now. This was achieved only thanks
to good organization of work, with no investments or purchase of new equipment. Our thinking also
changed with the implementation of this method. We thought earlier that an employee was to be
blamed if the work results were bad. However, we do not blame anybody now, we prefer to clarify
the reasons of the fault, and try to detect errors. People feel that they are valuated more, desire for
challenges emerged. When we used to receive a large order 6 years before, everybody was
concerned and anxious about the production success, while now any new challenge inspires joy.
It is not sufficient to copy the “Lean” method if you want to use it. Stagnation will overwhelm if you
will receive knowledge but will not do anything. When we started to think over, what we are doing
improperly and what should be changed, we understood that this is very individual. Moreover, it is
continuous process without an end. A simple advice could be made to the companies which do
not use such system – a lot depends upon the philosophy of the manager and company. You can
start teaching and urging the employees, but the things will begin to change only when the
management will deeply infected by this methodology. Also, after the first failures you should not
disappoint and blame the system. You should try and try again, for the real results will appear only
after 3-4 years of a stubborn work.

More information:
http://laikrastis.vz.lt/index.php?act=mprasa&sub=article&id=55037#ixzz2ADd0YLhb – See more at: http://www.honsha.org/MediaCenter/MediaCenter.aspx?cod=160#sthash.DNUt0MKA.dpuf