Yanmar – Factory Tour
Yanmar is a leading global brand in the design and manufacture of high-performance diesel engines. Their engines are used in a wide variety of applications such as agricultural and construction equipment, marine vessels as well as industrial and energy systems. The company also manufactures its own agricultural, construction and industrial machines and has a well-established global sales and service network operating in more than 130 countries.
- Company: Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd.
- Foundation: 1912
- Location: Headquartered in Osaka Prefecture
- Main Business: Manufacturing of diesel engines and related machines
Yanmar – Lean Characteristics
Leveled Production (Heijunka), Kaizen, Visual Management
Yanmar is a Japanese high-performance diesel engine manufacturer headquartered in Osaka. The company was founded by Magokichi Yamaoka in 1912. Born to a poor farming family and having witnessed the hard life of many farmers, Magokichi had a strong desire to “reduce the burden of the common laborer through the power of machinery”. Under his leadership, the company developed and released the world’s first commercially viable small diesel engine in 1933, which was well suited to the demands of agricultural application and made farming work easier and faster for many farmers. Magokichi’s legacy of innovation and environmental awareness have been reflected in their high-quality products.
The Yanmar Biwa Factory was established in 1955 and is located near Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. The factory is fitted with cutting-edge production equipment and has developed itself to be a highly flexible plant to meet the diverse needs of their customers. They produce a wide range of vertical water-cooled diesel engines in a high-mix low-volume production environment. The factory achieves flexible manufacturing through leveled production also known as Heijunka in Japanese.
The factory actively promotes and facilitates kaizen activities and great examples of kaizen ideas implemented are on display. The factory tour also features effective use of laser guided vehicles (LGV) as well as excellent visual management tools used throughout the shop floor.
I enjoyed every aspect of this extremely well organised kaizen tour including: factory visits, translations by Paul and Ben, TPS training, sightseeing, accommodation, transportation, and meals. This tour is a must for anyone trying to understand / implement LEAN into their business or organisation. I hope the tour continues for many years to come as…
One of the best weeks of my life. It has changed the way I see my production facility forever!
Paul and Ben from Shinka Management need to be commended for the tour that they ran in Japan. The experience has enlightened and energised me to intensify the lean efforts within our organisation. The tour was packed full of knowledge building as well as relationship building with other participants all whilst experiencing a cultural treat…
To do a lean learning tour with Shinka is definitely highly recommended. As lean is a personal journey for everyone who is involved in this topic, it doesn’t matter at which point of your journey you are in. At each level of personal experience there is a lot that you can take home with you.…
During the Lean Japan Tour I came to the realization that improving an organization is not through large capital investments alone. We were completely surrounded by examples of minor investments into small improvements that produced significant savings. The clever use of visual management techniques gave a clear understanding of the current situation and Ben who…
I was a part of the November 2013 Lean Japan Tour and would highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about Lean Manufacturing. Ben and Paul are well organised and have put together a great tour. The tour is very enjoyable and a great insight into Lean manufacturing. I have come back with a…
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.