Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions

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Isao Yoshino

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Isao Yoshino spent 40 years at Toyota working in a number of managerial roles in a variety of departments. Most notably, he was one of the main driving forces behind Toyota’s little-known Kanri Nouryoku (Kan-Pro) program, a manager development initiative (especially for those outside of production) that popularized the use of A3 as the standard method for problem-solving.

The Kan-Pro program was developed in 1978 by Masao Nemoto, who led Toyota’s successful Deming Prize initiative in 1965. Yoshino was one of 4 staff members responsible for training two thousand managers from all over the company. Each leader was to develop their own hoshin kanri in an A3 format, implement it, and provide feedback on it every six months, in front of their managers.

In 1983, he was asked to manage a newly-established training program for shopfloor leaders at the NUMMI facility in Fremont, CA. The goal was to show the leaders how Toyota wanted to run the plant by bringing them over to the Takaoka plant in Nagoya for 3 weeks, and pairing them up with Japanese counterparts to learn how TPS worked. He was also the first manager at Toyota for John Shook.

He has been teaching at Nagoya Gakuin University since 2008.

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