Hello, I’m Samuel Obara, but people have called me Sammy since my arrival in California in 1995. My journey with Lean began at the age of 17 during an internship as an electromechanical technician at Toyota do Brasil. After a year in the prototype area, I spent the next 12 years in various production roles at Toyota in Japan, Brazil, and Venezuela.
At 29, I came to Silicon Valley in California to complete my master’s degree in Technology Management. Shortly after, I became a Lean instructor for institutions like the Lean Enterprise Institute, San Diego State University, and the University of California San Diego.
My Lean immersion at Toyota inspired me to share my knowledge worldwide, in countries including China, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Austria, Lithuania, Russia, the United Kingdom, East Timor, Kenya, Australia, and more.
I’ve had the privilege of assisting diverse communities and educational institutions like Harvard and Stanford, as well as contributing to humanitarian missions in Asia and Africa.
In 2023, I marked 40 years of bringing Lean principles to over 450 companies, spanning schools, hospitals, banks, military organizations, and numerous factories of all sizes.
My perspective on Lean implementation emphasizes keeping the purpose in mind and continuously questioning the ‘why’ behind each activity. I’m fond of Mark Twain’s quote, ‘The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you discovered why.’ Never lose sight of your purpose!
When I’m not working, I enjoy various activities with my wife and our twins, who are in middle school. We spend time riding bikes, playing volleyball, ping-pong, chess, and working on backyard projects.
I am co-author of the book ‘Toyota by Toyota’ and have written several articles and podcasts.