One-year improvement project for factory profit

In the industry of the Company M, the unit price of products was decreasing year by year and the profit ratio was also decreasing. In order to develop new products and gain competitiveness by reducing costs, the Company M has implemented the one-year improvement project.

Specifically, they set the following target.

  • Change the layout of the factory and secure the process for new products

  • Reduce overtime work

Industry Electric / Electronic industry
Country / Company size Japan / About 800 employees
Purpose of the activity √ Break through the routine improvement activity
√ Reduce overtime work
√ Improve retention rate

~Limit of improvement by themselves~

The improvement members were feeling that there was a limit of the improvement activities that can be done only by themselves.
In the first month, a practical course was conducted by combining lectures and shop floor surveys to improve the skills of the improvement team members. The improvement team was able to share the sense of crisis of not knowing the correct standard time, and all members were able to understand and create the standardized work, so their skills improved to a level that they can teach to their subordinates as a leader.

After all the members understood what the waste of the work was, they started to remove wastes in the processes in charge.
Six months later, they succeeded in reduction of manpower of processes with vacant positions as a result of improvement activities and the improvement of the working environment through the appropriate standardized work. The success of the improvement activities was recognized throughout the factory, and members became more and more confident about the improvement activities.

~Improvement effect~

  • Productivity - 30% UP

  • Secure process for new products by layout change - 100㎡

  • Reduce process operators - total 20 operators

Within the fixed deadline of one year, they achieved the target and finished the project with the motivation to continue to be a competitive factory.

~Forward to a company culture of openness~

As preconditions of the improvement activity,

  • We should listen carefully to operators.

  • We should consider from an operator's perspective.

We have repeatedly told leaders that these would lead to early findings for problem solving. We have also requested managers to go to the shop floor, respect opinions of the improvement leader, and work on it together. The improvement of the retention rate, the Company M has been concerned, has a strong relationship with a corporate culture that workers can talk about their opinions and it is also related to employee motivation. This kind of thing is one of the important roles of external consultants.


Akihiro-Ito.jpgShigeyuki Obara

At Ricoh, he implemented improvement education for managers and general employees. He proactively stayed at shop floor and implemented improvement activities. After that, he was transferred to a consulting section for external companies, and conducted shop floor diagnosis and consulting for various industries.
As areas of specialty, regardless of the industry or business, he establishes shop floor improvements and realizes development of key personnel, improvement of quality and productivity, and reduction of lead time through the improvement activities.

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