Lean Manufacturing

Lean in Japan, Or Not

By Jon Miller Published on May 30th, 2007

The YouTube video titled Lean in Japan is a bit bizarre. It’s probably strange enough to most people as a window into modern Japan, but overlaid with Lean lingo it’s just weird.
It’s not clear if this video is tongue-in-cheek or serious but off the mark. The LEI version of the Lean definition with the five points of 1) let the customer define value, 2) map value streams, 3) flow, 4) pull and 5) pursue perfection are illustrated (or are they?) through video of life in some of Japan’s big cities.
The video ends with a “tune in next week” trailer hinting at more about the Toyota Production System, but where is the next video? This one was posted in February 2007.
Can you spot the batch & queue, push and imperfections?

  1. Ron

    May 30, 2007 - 8:08 pm

    I think it is safe to say they are idiots and are trying to ridicule Lean. I mean the girl “pulling” her purse into the train was about all I needed. I did suffer to the end of the video.

  2. Mike

    May 31, 2007 - 5:37 am

    I’m not sure what they were trying to get across, but it seemed pretty cynical to me. I think many of the subway scenes are a bit dated. That kind of crowding only rarely happens these days, even during rush hour.

  3. Jim

    May 31, 2007 - 7:43 am

    I have to agree with Ron… I don’t see anything that could have been construed as lean in the clip. I mean, people playing games in an arcade defines value? hmm

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