The 59th (2018) Quality Month Theme

Gemba Empowerment and Value Creation
through Smart-Processing

In recent years, improvement of labor productivity has been a subject for discussion in an attempt to solve a labor shortage, as well as to reduce costs in Japanese industry. Labor productivity is an index to measure how much added-value each employee can create per total labor hours. The average standard of Japanese labor productivity between 2010 and 2012 is considered equivalent to around 70% of that in the U.S., in the manufacturing industry, and around 50% in the service. Improvement of low labor productivity has been considered a major challenge needed to strengthen Japanese industrial competitiveness.

Innovation of the business process of employees, to begin with, is required to improve labor productivity. That is to say, establishing highly efficient processes is expected to save labor and time, using the latest ICT(Information & Communication Technology) such as automation, IoT(Internet of Things) and advanced analysis by AI(Artificial Intelligence). Processes which thoroughly save such waste are called “Smart processes”. Through smart processing in which employees observe work standards, Gemba is highly empowered by improvements and innovation co-created among employees. Confidence in the Japanese manufacturing industry must be rebuilt by dispelling a number of quality fouls and frauds uncovered over the last year.

On the other hand, higher value must be added to improve labor productivity. It is therefore, important to create values which can satisfy and delight customers. Quality Management from its beginning, has aimed to streamline process and add values, having “process-orientation” as one of its fundamental principles. Let’s realize “Gemba empowerment” and “Value creation” by establishing smart processes that can be globally benchmarked through promotion of Quality Management.

Dr. Hiroshi Osada
Chair, the 59th Quality Month Committee
Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology

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