The Birmingham-based Industry Forum is taking engineering firms to learn the secrets of Japanese manufacturing first hand.
The visit to Japan in November will be the 10th in a programme of best practice visits.
Delegates, made up of industry executives from a wide range of sectors, will visit some of Japan’s top flight manufacturing companies, including a trip to a Toyota factory, Mitsuba engine plant, Yokohama Rubber tyre plant, Honda’s piston foundry and Nittan Valves
The visit will be condensed to eight days – down from its normal two-week programme – in recognition of the fact that senior executives can find it difficult to get away from their desks in challenging business times.
The focus for the visit will be on total productive maintenance – the Japanese system of continuous shopfloor and process improvement – and some of the companies to be visited are international award winners in this sphere.
The visits have been running for six years. In that time delegates from the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, food processing, white goods and other sectors have been given unprecedented access to manufacturing processes which are the envy of the world and are rarely duplicated outside Japan with total effectiveness.
The visit programme has been made possible by a network of contacts made by Industry Forum director Arthur David, who formerly worked for Nissan and General Motors, and Industry Forum executive co-ordinator Koji Wanaka who was a senior official at Honda.
The visit will include detailed briefings by senior management at Japanese automotive plants and their major suppliers.
Delegates will also get detailed lectures from world-renowned Japanese experts on quality and TPM, as well as a presentation and reception at the British Embassy in Tokyo.
Darren Williams, engineering and quality director at Birmingham-based Lander Automotive said: “It is impossible to understand what can be achieved by just reading about the subject. Only seeing can create that understanding.”
Mark Brennan, manufacturing engineer at Leyland Trucks, said: “This was a life-changing experience both personally and professionally. There are so many opportunties to learn, from small lessons to significant strategies.”
The next visit takes place from November 26 to December 4. The cost of the programme is £5,750 plus VAT which includes accommodation at top Japanese hotels, flights, internal transport, all visits, interpreters and support from Industry Forum staff.
Industry Forum director Arthur David said: “The Japanese never stay still in business and all of the latest thinking in terms of lean manufacturing, quality, waste elimination, cost, efficiency and delivery originates in Japan. There’s no better way than learning first hand from the best in the world.”
The Industry Forum – based on Birmingham Business Park – was set up in 1996 to drive for the achievement of world-leading competitiveness in the UK-based vehicle and components industry. It is a results based organisation set up by the automotive industry for the automotive industry.
The forum’s hands-on practical programmes have led to major improvements by automotive suppliers across the UK and are now being used in other industry sectors including aerospace, food processing and the construction equipment industry.
* For more detrails call Arthur David at the Industry Forum on 0121 717 6613