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.
This tour was recommended to me by our VP Operations who undertook the tour the previous year. Both Ben and Paul provided an excellent tour of the Japanese manufacturing industry and the program was both well run and highly focused towards the practical implementation of lean strategies. There were plenty of opportunities to ask questions…
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the November 2013 tour. I learned so much about Japanese culture and TPS. Despite coming from the IT industry, I was able to gain valuable insights on the philosophy and principles of Lean that I can apply in my industry. Ben and Paul are top-notch guides. Their wealth of…
One of the best weeks of my life. It has changed the way I see my production facility forever!
Dear Paul, Ben and Eri, We would just like to take a moment to thank you for such a wonderful tour. You exceeded all our expectations for a week long journey – from your very professional approach and even more personal service. The week was extremely insightful, and we could not stop talking about what…
Paul, I just wanted to reach out and give my sincere thanks for an amazing week in Japan. You and your team of experts across all areas of business and language gave me an unforgettable experience and reminded me of so many aspects of lean that I had put to one side or taken for…
The whole tour was very professionally undertaken and led. Paul and Ben have to be congratulated for putting together a very informative and very enjoyable experience. The itinerary was excellent and to see from the raw material all the way through the supply chain through to the finished product was superb. I loved the thought…
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.