World Class Manufacturing 30th Anniversary – Testimonial and Interview

From 7 to 11 November 2022, the EU-Japan Centre organised the 5th online edition of its programme, the World Class Manufacturing training course. Notably, the programme reached a double milestone – its 50th edition and the 30th anniversary of its first edition in 1992. This double achievement was marked with a dedicated discussion with various alumni who shared with the current selected participants how their participation in WCM has impacted their professional and personal progression.

WCM 30th anniversary

At the end of the 1st day training, the 24 participants from 12 EU Members States, could look back to over 30 years and 49 editions of WCM missions. The rest of the online mission was divided between seminars relating to operational excellence and virtual visits to leading Japanese companies. On the final day of the mission, after several workshops and a “back-of-the-bus” discussion moderated by Dr Richard Keegan (the EU-Japan Centre’s lean expert and coach), each participant gave a presentation about their learnings from the course. 

Testimonial by Irena Soljic

“The online WCM training was a truly instructive experience for me. I have only vaguely heard about lean principles and tools before, and I feel I have gotten a lot out of my time.

The topics covered included five fundamental Lean tools, the 7 types of waste in a production environment, and the 5S of Kaizen thinking, amongst many others. These were introduced and explained with practical examples from industry leaders, such as Toyota and Daikin. The lecturers were very well prepared and always ready to answer our questions and give valuable input applicable to our industries.
Currently, I am working for Paleo, a food-tech precision fermentation start-up based in Belgium. I am happy that I have gotten to participate in the WCM training because our company will be scaling up in the next two years. Knowledge about lean methods will help this scale-up to happen in the most efficient, safe, and standardized way. In the future, I would be interested in applying for a physical mission in Japan, because in-person visits help pave the way for new ideas and industry collaborations. 
For future participants preparing for this mission - enjoy every moment and don’t be afraid to ask questions related to your industries!”

IrenaBy Irena Soljic, Ph.D., Food Science Lead, Paleo b.v, Belgium 


Interview of marco dias

Please describe your experience during the WCM Nov 2022 - online training
“My expectations regarding WCM Nov 2022 online training were very much in line with a traditional online training typology – being exposed to information and knowledge with some occasional interactions between the trainer and the trainees. On the other hand, the model that the EU-Japan Centre adopted for this training was very surprising and highly efficient. The combination of chosen speakers and all the associated support, from the staff to the mechanics of the sessions, made it possible to follow the week-long training in a pleasant, engaging, and focused way. Overall, this training was a very positive experience and allowed me to truly understand many of the concepts discussed, using very concrete and explicit examples. These examples presented best practices of Japanese companies in terms of continuous improvement of processes and the respective production aspect, with evidence of direct benefits and savings enabled by the implemented actions.”
What did you like the most? 
“The success of continuous improvement depends on changing the mindset of the people involved. What I liked most was understanding the methods I can use to get teams committed to the change process and process optimization. On the other hand, the sharing of experiences by all participants and speakers was very enriching since I saw other perspectives on how to approach problems.”
Any advice or comment you would like to share?
“Keep up the good work and be kaizen.” 

Marco DiasBy Marco Dias, R&D Innovation Project Manager, GLN, Portugal

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