Japan Airlines using Toyota Production System Principles

Toyota Production System Steers JAL Group Cargo Operations at Narita, press release from Japan Airlines (via Lean Manufacturing Blog)

By applying the ingenuity and originality of the Toyota Production System to their cargo operations at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, Japan Airlines are on the way to saving millions of dollars annually and making huge strides in improving efficiency and productivity, while at the same time maintaining service quality and safety.

I don’t think I have ever seen such a press release. It reads like a good article for actually learning about their lean efforts. Unlike most press releases, it is actually worth reading.

In accepting new ideas the project team found that the people who had been on the job longest, ever since Narita started operating, and who had a lot of accumulated know-how and experience, had the most difficulty accepting in new ideas. The perspective from inside the company tended to be narrowly focused and it was hard to make changes, so the team started by trying to change attitudes with the help of the Toyota know-how.

The team carried out their project by encouraging personnel to take on challenges. The team discovered that staff needed to learn that making a mistake while acting proactively was not a problem. The problem lay in not attempting to do anything at all.

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