“The essence of capitalism is that competition is the source of progress.”
This was said by Akihiko Nakauchi, Chairman Colombo Dockyard plc, delivering a lecture on “A Journey beyond Lean-A Japanese Overview,” in Colombo in March, 2012.
The lecture was organized by the Japanese Graduates Alumni Association of Sri Lanka. The majority shareholder of Colombo Dockyard is Onomichi Dockyard, Japan. He said that one of the significant causes for the decline in Japanese industries is that “lean management/The Japanese way” or Kanban is no longer the only one, most efficient, strongest and productive management skill anymore.
The Kanban supported automobile and electronics industries have been the backbone of the Japanese economy for a long time.
Management Skills Replace Kanban?
A Japanese newspaper recently quoting a Korean executive of having had said that the Japanese Kanban was no longer a threat to them. By taking advantage of the most advanced IT technologies, some companies have created the new concept called “management skills” which are superior to Kanban by taking advantage of the most advanced IT technologies, said Nakauchi.
Only the person or company who could create and establish new concepts of management skills by using endlessly progressing technology and business models/ strategies and integrating soft and hard skills will survive, said Nakauchi.
He said that companies such as Apple USA and Samsung Korea have integrated all the necessary activities of the company like production, monitoring, marketing, procurement, logistics and sales into one system, thereby achieving high performances. This system is called “smart transformation.”
Kanban is about eliminating seven wastes, namely over and/or possibility production, standby time, movement and/or transport of products, manufacturing process, stock, movement of workers and defective products.
But is the poor performance of Japan’s automobile and electronics industries because of Kanban? Or is it more around utilizing “smart transformation” and highly advanced IT technology?
In the meantime the Japanese economy lost its number two status to China. Large Japanese electronic companies such as Panasonic and Sony are reported to have had made enormous losses last year.
Meanwhile Toyota, in the world’s automobile ranking has slipped from number one to number three last year, said Nakauchi.