Competition is a very real threat to many modern-day businesses. This is especially the case given how the internet has figuratively shrunk the size of the world. Now, it isn't unusual for customers in one country to buy products and services from somewhere else in the world. For businesses, this means that competition has never been more real – not only do they have to worry about nearby competitors, but they also need deal with organizations that are not even in the same country.
At the same time, the economic recession has made it more difficult to operate a successful business. In a climate where competition is at its highest, companies also have fewer options to expand and succeed due to the lack of resources – they have lower budgets, yet have also been challenged to do more with less. So what can companies do to combat global competition while still operating within their means?
The answer may lie abroad in Japan – particularly the philosophy and practices surrounding the concept of Kaizen. Companies throughout the nation have been utilizing Lean processes to eliminate waste and improve other facets of their operations for decades, starting in the resource-constrained post-World War II era. As the saying goes, if you can't beat these Japanese companies, you might as well join them and learn business practices that you can apply to your own organization.
Lean Tours help your company integrate Kaizen
Because Kaizen is a Japanese concept and companies from the country have decades of experience operating under these mindsets, one of the best ways of learning Lean philosophies is actually journeying to Japan and embarking on a Lean tour. Several companies, such as Enna, hold these tours regularly and have professional relationships with several leaders in the field of Kaizen, enabling participants to learn precisely how Lean works in a real setting.
The importance of actually seeing Lean manufacturing and other Kaizen philosophies at work cannot be overstated. It may seem easy to learn about these processes from a book or other medium, but the fact of the matter is that you cannot truly understand Kaizen until you see it in action. By sending your top and middle managers, HR professionals and Kaizen leaders on a trip to Japan, these individuals can not only learn about Lean philosophies, but actually see them in use at experienced companies.
So what can you learn on a Kaizen tour? While these tours are customized based on your needs, you will gain firsthand experience talking with Kaizen experts and seeing how they've integrated Lean management practices into their businesses. Additionally, you can gain critical insight on how to apply key Lean concepts to your own company.
The value of Lean tours
Some businesses may question whether Lean tours are worth the cost, both in terms of transportation and the time required to send key managers abroad. However, many companies that have already gone through the process have praised the value these tours provide to their business.
Take, for example, Oregon-based Salem Health, which recently sent a number of employees to Japan for a Lean trip. Despite spending $2.5 million on the excursion and facing $30 million worth of cuts in other areas of operations, Salem Health's chief executive officer Norman Gruber was quick to proclaim the trip was “absolutely worth going.”
Learn the practical applications of Lean and Kaizen by observing the journey of World-Class companies in Japan. Discover what you could learn by joining one of Enna's Lean Tours here.