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.
It has been a great and eye-opening tour. It made me believe more that lean is possible and achievable. The way the tour was organised impressed me – your team has put time and effort into making the program well-organised and enjoyable. Thank you for keeping up the standard and keeping lean awareness going for…
Dear Paul, Thank you for the nice experience you and your team were able to provide me! It has been a very professional tour and even more a very nice human connection with you, David and Eri. You have built a nice team that makes people’s lives change! Ciao, Maurizio
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 recently had the privilege of attending the Lean Japan Tour organized by Shinka Management, and I can say it was an unforgettable experience! From start to finish, the tour was exceptionally well-managed, and I came away with a wealth of new knowledge and insights into lean manufacturing. I want to express my gratitude to…
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…
One of the best weeks of my life. It has changed the way I see my production facility forever!
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.