Since visiting for the first time in 2011, I have been fascinated with the level of lean excellence at Rinnai. I recently had the pleasure to interview Mr Masao Kosugi, Director of Rinnai Corporation. Kosugi has been at Rinnai since they first started studying the Toyota Production System (TPS). Being a leading Japanese corporation, I am sure Rinnai were practicing a quite reasonable level of lean back in 1979. But a visit from Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno changed everything.
Lean manufacturing is a production philosophy that has evolved out of practices made famous by Japanese industry over the past several decades. During the week-long study tour participants learned about the implementation of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement practices in some of Japan’s top companies.