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Father of Kaizen visits Australia

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The President of CHEP Asia Pacific , Mr Howard Wigham, welcomed the renowned ‘father of continuous improvement’, Mr Masaaki Imai, to Australia for his first visit to this country in 20 years.

Mr Imai is the globally renowned “lean guru” and a pioneer in leading the Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement which has it roots in the automotive manufacturing industry.

Mr Imai addressed a peak industry group in Sydney, the Logistics Association of Australia (LAA) this week.

“Attending the event were a number of key industry representatives who have adopted and implemented a lean thinking approach to their supply chain operations” says Allan Murray, President of LAA Ltd.-NSW.

CHEP is a proud early adopter of lean thinking principles, and a strong proponent of the benefits of lean thinking for its manufacturing and logistics customers.

Managing costs and remaining competitive in the global economy are constant challenges for companies operating in the manufacturing and logistics sector.

Too often, cost cutting is seen as the only solution. However, lean thinking – a concept with a global track-record of success – is about cost management, increased efficiency and customer value.

“In this age of global supply chain management, the client is becoming increasingly demanding for services,” says Mr Imai.

“The principles of Kaizen (meaning ‘change for the good’) ensure that improvement is seen everyday, by everybody, everywhere in an organisation.

“I congratulate the supply chain logistics industry on embarking on its own lean journey and for playing an integral part in the continuous improvement process,” he says.

CHEP, the global leader in outsourced pallet and container pooling services credits the strategy with already helping it reduce costs while creating distinct business efficiencies.

“The integration of lean systems and processes has driven efficiencies in CHEP’s business through the identification and elimination of ‘wasteful’ activities,” says Mr Wigham. “The result is a more streamlined, sophisticated business.

“Lean identifies areas in the production, operations and logistics processes where activities can be streamlined. Such areas might include ‘over production’ of product; ‘too many’ office systems; over-complicated inventory processes or transport and warehouse logistics.

“Reducing waste or inefficient processes for a customer not only saves them money through cost management, but it directly translates to the sustainability and longevity of their business.

“The mind-set of continual improvement underpins CHEP’s business. We are always striving for a better way to operate and how this translates into value for our customers. From applying CHEP equipment - such as collapsible containers reducing wasted space in storage and in transit - to the outsourcing of non-value adding processes such as the washing, repair and relocation of pooled equipment, CHEP is very keen to partner with organisations looking to build leaner logistics operations,” he says.

Mr Imai, founder of the Global Continuous Improvement Movement and Mr Jorge Barron, President of the North American Operation of the Kaizen Institute are in Australia for the launch of the Kaizen Institute’s assessment criteria for world class production systems.

About CHEP

CHEP is the global leader in pallet and plastic container pooling services, serving many of the world's largest companies. The company has more than 7,700 employees in 42 countries.

Combining superior technology, over five decades of experience and an asset base of more than 265 million pallets and containers, CHEP handles pallet and container supply chain logistics for customers in the consumer goods, produce, meat, home improvement, beverage, raw materials and automotive industries. With global partners that include GM, Ford, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg's, Kraft, and Nestle.

About the LAA

The Logistics Association of Australia supports the logistics and supply chain industry by providing collaboration, education and networking opportunities.

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