Lean Production and Leadership – OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE of Companies in Japan

Nothing is more inspirational than experiencing successful role models. And nobody moves more than inspired managers. That's why we offer

  • 'Learning Journeys to the Sources of Excellence': to Japan, to the origins of TPS, LEAN and Kaizen
  • Quality over quantity: Four to five visits to companies regarded in Japan as benchmarks for Monozukuri®Monozukuri – i.e. the manufacturing of things
  • In-depth visits: Extensive factory tours, including live presentations of Kaizen activities; these visits are sometimes much longer than the typical 2-hour visits organised by other operators
  • Focus on the how: One-day Kaizen training session led by former Toyota TPS trainers – with guaranteed aha! effects for all participants
  • Impactful encounters: with 'LEAN Leaders' and 'Kaizen Managers' – insight into their 'toolboxes' and how they approach leadership in practice
  • Rigorous evaluation directly in Japan: Analysing the differences and the LEAN success factors
  • Team and network building among the participants as a desirable side effect

The main topics are LEAN Production and Kaizen in application as well as the leadership required in this process. Former top managers explain how this works in a webinar, which is an integral part of the learning journey:

  • Corporate culture, mindset and how to change them: Insights gained from successful corporate reforms (more here)

In addition, we train the participants in a preparatory seminar on the differences between TPS and LEAN as well as Japan's economy, society and culture

The aim is to give the improvement process in your company a powerful and sustainable boost. The standard by which the learning journeys are to be measured is: Ultimately, the only thing that counts is what is later implemented in your own company. Whether we live up to this claim you can see here.

I participated with part of my team in the Learning Journey to Japan in June 2024. The trip has been focused on the TPS – Toyota Production System and lean thinking, which is a key part of our Group DNA as we have been using this method for more than 20 years, internally developed and implemented as fPS – fischer Process System.
Our goal was to reinforce the knowledge of the methodology, to go deeper into the real meaning of the kaizen culture and to go beyond the tools by visiting the actual places where it was born, grown and developed.
The journey has revealed as a full and intensive experience, from practicing the kata with our hands, by sharpening knives, till visiting companies which are applying the philosophy which is embedded in the processes and most of all in the people.
The trip itself was prepared, organized and managed very well. Roman Ditzer has a deep understanding of how TPS and kaizen actually work in Japanese firms, his extensive experience helps to capture the full meaning of the discussions which is not a given considering the cultural and language differences. From the standpoint of fischer Consulting we can just say that to get the most out of the Lean 'essence' it is mandatory to go beyond the tools and the Learning Journey shows you what’s the beyond.

What our Participants say:

Federico Lazzarini, 2024
General Manager at fischer Consulting Italia, participant in the fPS Award Learning Journey in June 2024
I would like to express my gratitude to RD interlogue for the superior organization of this trip. I suppose years of kaizen activity has been invested into it by now, which could be felt at every moment. Not only professionally has this trip contributed to my view of Japanese management, but it has also broadened my understanding of the social and cultural context into which it is rooted. I cannot imagine that this journey could have been organized in a more professional way. All (travelling, eating, accommodation, factory visits, workshops, and so on) went unrealistically smooth and flawless. Thanks again for this unforgettable experience!

What our Participants say:

Rudolf Ferencz, 2024
QS Leader – Quality Manager at Häfele Hungary, participant in the Learning Journey in April 2024
Back in 2016 I was able to take part in the insightful Learning Journey to Japan. During these eight days RD interlogue presents an impressive selection of companies displaying consistent implementation of lean and kaizen – especially with regards to the importance of soft factors such as mindset, culture and leadership. Since then we have been focusing much more on the 'left / right side of the brain'. We have not only implemented the lessons learned at Volkswagen, but also very consistently here at Bentley, with great results.

What our Participants say:

Sebastian Benndorf, 2020
Head of Planning Bentley Motors Ltd., participant in the Learning Journey in October 2016
We participated in the open Learning Journey in March 2019 with a group of six managers. The expectation was that each participant would recoup 10 times the costs via savings. This was achieved by everyone in the course of the same year and with regards to culture there was an even greater impact!

What our Participants say:

Boris Katic, 2019
COO U.I. Lapp GmbH, participant in the Learning Journey in March 2019
You can't imagine how much I’d like to accompany you on another Learning Journey – it's unbelievable how much I learned in those 10 days and how much I was able to incorporate into our training program and our company in general. Many thanks once again for all your efforts.

What our Participants say:

Ulrike Brasseur, 2019
Department for Training and Further Education at a German car manufacturer, participant in the Learning Journey in June 2016
I was on the trip to Japan, and the fire is still burning inside. This year I have already implemented 17 measures. My staff have also caught the bug; when I walk through the various departments, I'm guaranteed to come back with a CIP order. And the staff are particularly impressed by how rapidly some of the measures can be implemented.

What our Participants say:

Stefan Baumstark, 2019
In-house consultant on ergonomics and lean production at a German car manufacturer, participant in the Learning Journey in June 2015

The Pathway to OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE Goes via Japan.

Why Japan?
The 'Executive Summary on 12 slides' (PDF) illustrates the connection between Kaizen and OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE, as well as the importance of the soft factors: mindset and leadership. A more detailed explanation of the connections can be found on the following slides.