Good problem solving can seriously help you with the performance in your plant. John Shook recently pointed out another nice example to me: the Japanese Men’s 4x100m relay team during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. They were the underdogs, with none of their team having ever run 100m in under 10 seconds. Yet they stunningly won the silver medal! They achieved this through good problem solving. Let me show you the details:
Subaru is the smallest of the Japanese car makers, with barely a million vehicles per year in 2016, which makes it the 23rd-largest vehicle maker in the world. Yet, since it produces almost exclusively four-wheel-drives, it is also the largest maker of four-wheel-drives. Despite its small size Subaru is highly profitable. During my grand tour of Japanese automotive, I visited Subaru in February 2018. Here are my findings.
The next stop on my Grand Tour of the Japanese Automotive Plants: Suzuki! On December 3, 2017, I visited their location in Hamamatsu. To be completely honest, I did not see the inside of their plants, but the excellent Suzuki Plaza still gave a lot of insight into their production system.
Mazda is the seventeenth-largest car maker in the world with around 1.5 million cars produced in 2016. Most of them were produced in Japan. It is also the only car maker that mass-produced cars using a rotary engine. As part of my Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive Plants, I visited their main Hiroshima plant in January 2018 (one of three Mazda plants in Japan). Here’s what I found:
Mitsubishi Motors is the oldest of the major car companies in Japan, established 1917. It is also one of the smaller ones in Japan, with only slightly more than 1 million vehicles produced in 2016. In January 2018, I had the chance to visit their Okazaki plant near Nagoya. I also visited the Mitsubishi Fuso plant in Kawasaki and one of its suppliers, although that is technically another company. Let me give you the gist of the Mitsubishi Motors Plant Okazaki.
Honda is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world with around 17 million motorcycles sold in 2017 (compared to number 2 Yamaha with around 5.2 million, 2015 figures). In January 2018 I had a chance to visit their Honda Kumamoto plant. This plant gave me a much better and very different impression than the Honda Sayama automotive plant.
Honda is the seventh-largest car maker in the world (in 2016). It is the largest maker of motor bikes and internal combustion engines overall. During my Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive, I was able to visit two of their plants: Sayama, where they produce cars, and Kumamoto, where they produce motor bikes and generators. These two plants are very different from each other. Let me give you what I found.
Nissan by itself would be the sixth-largest car maker (5.5 million vehicles in 2016), although it is now a part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which was the largest car maker in 2017. It is also the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles.
As part of my grand tour of Japanese automotive plants, I visited their Yokohama and Iwaki plants, which both make engines. In my view, the manufacturing performance of Nissan is comparable to that of Toyota, making it also one of the most efficient car makers worldwide. Let me show you what I found.