Kewpie – Factory Tour
Kewpie Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer that produces and sells condiments, salad dressing, egg products, jams and health foods. It is well known for its popular brand of mayonnaise that comes in a soft-squeeze plastic bottle with a distinctive Kewpie baby doll logo and a red cap. The company operates eight plants in Japan and has several production bases overseas including in South East Asia, Europe and the United States.
- Company: Kewpie Corporation
- Foundation: 1919
- Location: Headquartered in Tokyo
- Main Business: Manufacturing of packaged food products including condiments, dressing, egg products
Kewpie Corporation – Lean Characteristics
QC Circle, High-Mix, Low-Volume Production
Kewpie Corporation is a well-known food production company with over 100 years of history. The company founder Toichiro Nakashima encountered mayonnaise during his study visit to the United States and founded the company in 1919 with a hope to create delicious and nutritious condiments for the Japanese. The company began production of Japan’s first mayonnaise product in 1925.
Kewpie now operates eight plants in Japan with a clear distinction of roles and functions among each plant. The company designates two plants as their mother factories (namely Goka plant in Ibaraki Prefecture which covers Eastern Japan and Kobe Plant in Hyogo Prefecture for Western Japan) and the remaining six are regarded as their satellite plants. At their mother plants, the company’s flagship products are manufactured in large scale. In addition, the latest production technologies and equipment are also introduced and tested before being transferred to their satellite factories. Their satellite factories are where a wide range of their food products in varying volume are manufactured in high-mix, low-volume production environments. Their production is achieved in a flexible manner with the application of factory automation systems developed over the years.
The company has set up a corporate-wide Quality Control circle program. QC circles are small groups made up of shop floor operators responsible for quality control. They voluntarily and continuously undertake activities that improve the quality of their products as well as the safety and efficiency of their operation.
Kewpie Koromo plant is a satellite plant which was established in 1958 in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. The visit to Koromo plant provides an insight into the effective use of high-tech tools to achieve a high level of quality and efficiency as well as good examples of their QC circle activities.
I attended the Shinka Management / Ai Group / JMAC Lean Japan Study Tour in 2010 – outstanding, highly recommended. (I don’t have this much fun when I go on holiday.) To see the cultural home of Lean Manufacturing is an experience you will never forget. Ride on a bullet train, walk the factory floor…
I highly recommend the Lean Study Tour of Japan as an experience not to be missed. Having attended the tour for the past three years, supporting our clients, I have come away with new learnings every time. Whether you are new to Lean Thinking or well into your Lean Journey you will undoubtedly have an…
The tour has been a once in a lifetime experience and a real insight into Japanese Industry and culture. The warm welcome and organisation of the week including travel, hotels, places to eat and all visits were exceptional. The Toyota Group and Isuzu factory tours really demonstrated the Toyota Production System followed up with great…
The tour has given me the opportunity to understand in a practical way what I learned theoretically. I have checked that the theory is possible to put in practice. This has been the first time that I have felt the lean manufacturing philosophy first hand. Congratulations to the Shinka Team. The organisation has been perfect…
Shinka Management organized an excellent tour. It was structured to capture professional development and cultural experience. The tour also provided me with experiences related not only to the local culture and food of Japan, but also to the culture and languages of fellow participants from all over the world. This tour has made a significant…
I attended the tour in 2011 and found the whole experience very useful to build on my understanding of Lean Manufacturing. For those having a reasonable understanding of Lean this tour shows in detail the gap that Australia experiences to world class productivity practices. Most interesting was the deployment of essentially the key elements of…
The Shinka Management Lean Japan Tour is a professional development program run several times annually. The program includes a mix of lean and kaizen seminars, hands-on lean training and visits to several benchmark lean companies. For further information and program dates, see the lean tour overview page.