Our week-long lean study tours to Japan include a factory visit to Gifu Auto Body, together with discussions with senior management. For further information, see our tour factory list.
Company: Gifu Auto Body Co., Ltd.
Location: Gifu Prefecture
Main Business: Automotive
TPS, Electric Kanban System, JIT, Poka-Yoke, 5S, TPM
Gifu Body is one of eight suppliers of finished vehicles to the Toyota Group and is recognised as a top quality Toyota supplier.
Their major product is the Toyota Hi-Ace vehicle, and they also manufacture emergency vehicles based on the Hi-Ace design, along with automotive components.
Gifu Body refer to their system as the Gifu Production System (GPS), but it is nothing but an execellent example of the Toyota Production System (TPS) at work.
There are excellent examples of an electric kanban system, JIT delivery, customised equipment and poka-yoke.
Gifu Body has a clever use of space throughout the plant. This has been required over the years due to the expansion of operations within building size limitations.
The life of older equipment has been extended considerably through excellent 5S and TPM programs.
Factory Tour Content
The tour group visits three separate factories on this visit; the welding/paint/assembly factory, the pressed components factory, and the seat track factory.
The shop floor tours give a comprehensive operator-level look at the factory operations even extending out to the logistics, maintenance and welding shops.
Highlighted are simple but effective visual management tools, automated guided vehicles (AGV) and specific examples of inexpensive improvement ideas that have had a considerable effect on productivity.
Company presentations and discussions take place together with a former manager who leads the group through the history and lean journey of Gifu Body. The manager provides an easy-to-understand background to the philosophy behind GPS and tangible examples of its success.
The group also has the opportunity to openly discuss lean concepts and their application with the former manager. The visit includes a practical training session of lean concepts in a world-class Toyota Group training facility.