Key insights from our latest JLE study tour participants

Key insights from our latest JLE study tour participants


Through the Makoto lens, we recently had the opportunity to take another group of enthusiastic business leaders on a Lean Experience Study Tour in Japan. This immersive journey into the heart of Lean and Kaizen methodologies is always an eye-opening experience for participants.


Let’s delve into some of the key changes our latest group is eager to bring back to their respective workplaces, the challenges they foresee, and how they plan to tackle them.

Embracing a united vision and purpose

First on their list is to instigate a complete vision and purpose workshop with their management teams. Many see the existing culture as a potential obstacle to achieving this. The solution lies in uniting the directors or executives in agreement on the significance of vision and purpose as essential drivers for strategic alignment. It will be crucial for leadership to come together, understand the importance of unity, and promote a shared vision to their teams.

Championing 5S in manufacturing and inventory

Next, participants aim to implement the 5S methodology in their manufacturing and inventory processes. Change resistance in long-standing employees could pose a challenge. Overcoming this will require providing the team with a Kaizen roadmap and an understanding of ‘why’ these changes are essential. Additionally, they acknowledge the need for data accessibility and intelligence to understand the new normal. The key lies in implementing effective training to manage and display business intelligence information.

Standardising 3S rosters and audits

The group recognises the need to introduce 3S rosters, audits, and standard work to promote 3S culture (introducing Standardise and Sustain). The challenge lies in a lack of perceived value and enjoyment in these tasks. The resolution? Leadership must lead by example and involve front-line employees in the implementation of improvements, particularly around standard work and 3S controls.

Venturing into QR codes for standard work

As part of their digital transformation initiatives, participants are enthusiastic to experiment with implementing QR codes for viewing standard work, particularly standard work videos. This is a new venture for many, but they plan to address any uncertainty by explaining the reasons behind the implementation and piloting the technology in areas more open to change, proving the value of this initiative.

Prioritising Gemba walk procedures

The tour participants also aim to revise and reinforce the Gemba walk procedure. With initial resistance to added administrative tasks, they recognise the importance of aligning KPIs for safety and improvement ideas with Gemba walks, thereby eliminating waste. The key is to present these facets together, facilitating an understanding of their collective importance.

Reinventing employee onboarding

The group aims to enhance the onboarding process for new employees. They intend to focus on understanding an individual’s perception of their role and how they can contribute and foster improvement. The challenge lies in potential resistance from existing employees, as this has not been an approach previously. The way forward is to open the same discussion lines with the current team, fostering inclusivity.

Re-evaluating business strategy

Lastly, the group acknowledged that business strategy often leans heavily on results like profit and growth, and not on how to get there. However, they see the value in incorporating aspects like training and development, continuous improvement through the elimination of waste, workplace organisation, and standard procedures into their strategic approach. Although this holistic view may not be well-understood currently, they are committed to ensuring their boards and executive teams gain a deep understanding of continuous improvement and how to foster a culture that supports it.

On reflection…

As we reflect on these points, it is clear our latest JLE tour participants are returning to their businesses with fresh insights and a new strategic direction. Japan’s Lean methodologies have once again inspired, motivated, and enlightened business leaders to embark on their transformational journeys. At Makoto, we are proud to be part of their journey and excited to see how these changes will positively impact their organisations in the months to come.


Want to know more?

Contact us today to learn more or book a discussion.



Leadership Part 1: How Lean and Kaizen support continuous improvement and impact the leadership style in your business

I wanted to share with you my thoughts in relation to Lean and Kaizen, and I hope that my point of view is something that you might be able to make use of and perhaps apply at your workplace. So I wanted to talk about leadership, in the Lean and Kaizen environment, and just a…

Read More

Subscribe for updates

We provide free updates and advice regularly to help you improve your business and leadership skills, and for exclusive content there is a paid subscription too!

Follow us on YouTube

Our YouTube channel is a must for Leaders in business who want to empower their teams and improve their processes. You'll find plenty of our current thinking there

Build your Capability with our Members Program

We do consulting differently, in that we believe in building your capability to improve - we want to provide you with the secrets to success, not keep it all to ourselves! Our exclusive Member Program coaches you to be a great Leader, to empower your people to drive improvement, and identify large gains in employee engagement, quality and performance.

Talk to a consultant

We love to have a chat. We also like to make sure we have time just for you. You can book a chat and we can discuss your continuous improvement journey. We are happy to provide as much obligation-free advice as we can during the call, including what would be the recommended next steps for you to take.


Makoto Lean Consulting Tour