"Kaizen" is Japanese for "continuous improvement", achieved through introducing simple yet significant initiatives that add value to the workplace. The philosophy originated in Japan's Meiji Era when the country reconsidered its political and economic status. At this time, the Japanese found it imperative to cooperate with foreign nations for skills exchange in especially the automotive industry to achieve economic stability and competitiveness. Today, countries across the globe have achieved success through Kaizen.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been collaborating with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) since 2015, under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the National Automotive Industry Human Capital Development Programme aimed at capacitating local automotive suppliers. Under the Programme, JICA dispatched two Japanese experts as Automotive Human Resource Development Advisors, Messrs Kazunori Hayashi and Michiharu Suzuki, retirees from Toyota. The experts have worked closely with the AIDC and have thus far been able to train nine suppliers.
Baires Plastics, which produces plastic components for Nissan and Isuzu, is one such supplier. Baires Plastics experienced challenges such as stagnation due to unprocessed tasks. However, through the implementation of "5S", the workplace and factory became more functional. Another success story is Q-Plas, which produces interior and exterior plastic components. Q-Plas faced excess stock in storage, irregular stock in temporary storage areas, and delayed assembly stations. After implementing Kaizen, they were able to improve production by minimizing the time from one station to the next in their assembly lines from 73 to 42 seconds.
On 13 June 2019, AIDC and JICA celebrated their partnership by reflecting on the Programme, and by recognising and rewarding individuals who excelled. The event outlined achievements of the nine suppliers who have consistently implemented Kaizen in their production lines to reduce waste, minimize clutter, improve production, monitor improvement, support competitiveness, and increase sales and revenue.
Initially, Kaizen was considered Japanese terminology, but today it's being adopted all over the world. The collaboration between AIDC and JICA on Kaizen has been very successful, and I'd like to encourage JICA to expand this Programme. H.E. Mr Norio Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to South Africa
We're here to celebrate our milestone in aiding the economy and to thank Japan for their assistance as none of this would've been possible without them." Mr Lance Shultz, Chief Executive Officer, AIDC.
Key Beneficiaries of the JICA Programme below:
Participating current component suppliers on the programme are: 1. Duys Automotive Components (KZN), 2. Acoustex Automotive (EC), 3. Baires Plastics Automotive (GP), 4. Supreme Springs (GP), 5. Lumen Special Cables (KZN), 6. Q-Plas automotive (EC), 7. Steelbest formerly known as Zealous Automotive (GP), 8. Auto Industrial Machining (GP) and 9. Excellence Motor Trimmers (EMT) (GP). AIDC GP Trainers/AIDC EC Trainers
For more information visit AIDC website: www.aidc.co.za or contact them on +27 (12) 564 5001