Over 20 Mitsui employees attended the Kaizen Toyota Production System (TPS) training in Georgetown, Kentucky. Team members from Accountable Healthcare, Delta Companies and MBK Real Estate Companies attended the three-day (October 9 – 11) training workshop created by Toyota at the largest Toyota manufacturing plant in North America.
TPS is a management philosophy and strategy from the lean production perspective. It is a people-oriented system because it respects the fact that it is people who operate the system. Respect for the work team forms the basis of TPS. Effective utilization of a member`s time – employee engagement and encouraging lean process improvement contributions from staff are key elements. Under TPS, every action of a team member should add value to the production process and help increase overall productivity. Communication and visual management are at the core of TPS.
Seiki (Stan) Hirota, Chairman of the Mitsui Board attended the training and was joined by the following from Accountable Healthcare Staffing:
- Paul Aelmore, Travel Recruiter, Tulsa
- Lourie Esquibel, Area Manager
- Melissa Lorraine, Contracts Manager
- Stacy Lucas, Branch Director
- Rhonda Mensah, Vice President of Human Resources
“The key factors of the training were to focus on continuous improvement, customer satisfaction and cost containment. The mentality of ‘this is how it has always been done’ are not conducive to growth”, said Rhonda Mensah. “You can’t learn by remaining the same and not trying new things. New ideas are valued and keeps us growing as a team.”
TPS, which is immersed in the philosophy of “the complete elimination of all waste,” instills all aspects of production in pursuit of the most efficient methods. The team learned that “Kaizen” is to increase value-added work and eliminate Muda (waste).
“My team’s responsibilities are based on teamwork, just like the Toyota assembly line where the cars are built. We all have processes and if one person fails, it affects the whole team,” said Melissa Lorraine. Melissa intends to implement the tools she learned from the training into both her professional and personal development.
Toyota practices this philosophy in their business. As the team toured the assembly line, they learned that Toyota eliminates Muda (waste) by only producing cars on an “as needed” basis. They produce only the cars that are in demand and ready to be sold at the dealerships.
“Attending the TPS training was worth every moment,” said Stacy Lucas. “I am working with my team to eliminate waste (Muda) and get the job done in a timely manner. We are removing steps in the recruitment process in order to move the candidate through quicker, build the relationship faster and have their contract signed and ready for their next assignment”.
“The TPS workshop was an invaluable learning experience. I came back with so many ideas that I can share with my staff. As a manager, I have an obligation to grow and empower my team to be the best. One of the Toyota philosophies is continuous improvement (Kaizen). By working with my team, we can find new ways to reach our goal while eliminating unnecessary steps to get us there faster,” said Lourie Esquibel, Area Manager
Increasing efficiency and willingness to solve problems was another focus in the workshop. Paul Aelmore is bringing this tactic back to the travel division and taking an active role in working on changes. “The workshop really made me take a good look at our processes. There are things that need to be changed to keep from falling through the cracks. I am creating a plan to improve our processes and will be working with Adam and Rob to help implement some of my creative ideas learned”, said Paul. As far as what his proposal will be, he is not sharing that yet. But he did say that his “plans have a big focus on our application process”.
Clearly the team left the Toyota Manufacturing plant with many great ideas, new philosophies and creative strategies to implement in the coming months.