Hi everyone!

Today is the last day of this amazing learning week. The weather was rainy, the temperature colder than other days, but everyone’s excitement made us forget about the overcast weather.

In the morning, we visited Sekisui Heim, a housing company of Sekisui Chemical Group, conducting business based on the principle of providing environmentally-friendly housing for safe and comfortable living for at least 60 years (normal houses last average 26 years). It has established a unique position in Japan in new housing construction as a specialist in the Unit Construction Method, and its advanced factory-built approach enables short construction periods and delivers functions in accordance with designs plans. After a brief presentation of the company overview and facility areas, we went to gemba to see this plant.

The plant had 2 floors, and we started visiting the 2nd floor where the production line works in-flow concept built in “U” shape, takes the wood, and constructs the walls at the first station. This is followed by floor construction at the next station. With both modules built, it starts the installation of insulators and cables. Next, there is the painting process done by a robot, and afterwards, it goes to the 1st floor to finish the house interior parts including bathroom, kitchen etc. At the end there is the final inspection and the finished modules goes to the external area.

When we looked on top of the plant, we could see the big panel showing the target modules for quantity of the day, the planned quantity, and the actual quantity of modules produced. The factory produces modules equivalent to 3 houses per day. Each house has around 13 modules. The lead time to assemble all the parts takes only 1 day. By assembling the modules indoors, it is possible to work even it is raining outside, contributing to lead time reduction.

After the gemba visit, we could see the interior of the model house with solar panels on the roof. The house is built in order to resist from UV rays, winds, and rains. It was a wonderful and hearty family house.

Finally, we departed for our last visit of this incredible week. We went to Ganko Foods Restaurant where we had an remarkable washoku traditional Japanese dish.  Their concept is to provide delicious food and hospitality.

Welcomed kindly by the staff, we met Dr. Takeshi Shimmura. He explained to us about this incredible company –

Founded by Atsushi Kojima in 1965, he started the business with a sushi shop of 4.5 tsubo (15) in Juso, Osaka. In 1969, he opened the Juso Sushi Shop which attracted much attention at the time for being large enough to seat 106 guests. At this time, the Japanese government permitted foreign companies to introduce a chain store management system. In 1990, the revenue stopped growing and began decreasing gradually. The market scale of traditional Japanese restaurant had been decreasing for several decades and customer’s preferences had changed as well.” 

The restaurant’s productivity was low, and they started to change the management strategy as a combination based on Japanese culture and craftsmanship.

Instead of introducing chain stores system, with low-price and low-cost operation, they chose to create a high-value and reasonable restaurant based on craftsmanship and Japanese tradition, creating:

  • new value for sustainable growth
  • innovation of a production system for tasty and reasonable food
  • training system to create high-value service
  • replicable business model to provide reasonable price

They applied the process management system, collecting real time information about current total number of orders, elapsed time of orders, number of tables etc, which are shared within the staff to improve productivity. They also introduced the Quality Control system, the human oriented design to support service, field, and staff work by observation and analysis using simulations. This helps design an optimal kitchen and restaurant layout before construction or renovation and applying those learnings at gemba.

We could really feel the concept of Ganko Foods – “Tasty, Cheap and Enjoyable”. They do not simply serve food, but also place importance on the ideas of “place” and “time” when enjoying a delicious meal and view. There would be no better combination of learning, eating, and sharing experiences than this place and these sensational participants of 8th EDM October 2018.

Thanks for following along this week! It has been a pleasure sharing our experiences and thoughts. Please check out Twitter for additional info – #honshaedm