Lean Office

Peter Pan, Kaizen and Joseph Lieberman

By Jon Miller Published on November 15th, 2005

An article in today’s New Britain Herald brightened what was otherwise a rainy, jet-lagged winter day here in the Puget Sound.
Connecticut is a hotbed of Lean manufacturing and kaizen activity. Many clients of the Shingijutsu consulting company and early adopters of kaizen are based in Connecticut. These include Danaher, United Technologies, Stanley Works and Wiremold. This has helped kaizen trickle down to smaller businesses.
According to the article Peter Pan Electronics is a small business in New Britain that is competing successfully partly due to Lean manufacturing and kaizen. They are also being helped in their efforts by state grants.
Senator Joseph Lieberman was on site presumably to take some of the credit for this $500,000 state grant and get some positive PR in the process, not so much to learn about kaizen and Lean manufacturing. He appears to have learned something about kaizen.
After touring the factory and receiving a Peter Pan Electronics t-shirt, Lieberman is quoted as saying he will “bring a little of your Kaizen attitude back to the United States Senate.”
I take this as a hopeful sign. As more and more manufacturers large and small adopt Lean practices in more of the 50 United States, more government officials will hear about it and want to be associated with kaizen as a “good thing”. The more Joe Liebermans we have with the word kaizen stuck in their mind the sooner we’ll get Lean government.
I’ll happily take Senator Lieberman’s statement and full value. I will look forward to news of Senator Lieberman working to cut out waste in the U.S. government.
The New Britain Herald, however, could use some kaizen and genchi gembutsu fact-checking. There are two errors in the article, one minor and one major. The minor one is:
“Kaizen” is a Japanese term that means continuous improvement: “Kai” means continuous; “zen” means improvement.
In fact, “kai” means “change” and “zen” means “good”.
More importantly, the company name is not “Peter Pan” but Peter Paul Electronics according to our research.

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