The first online WCM Training course

The first online WCM Training course was held on 16-20 November 2020.

Prior to the online mission, the Centre has selected 17 European participants from 14 different countries. The EU delegation had the opportunity to learn more about the Toyota Production System (TPS), Total plant maintenance (TPM), Toyota Motor Corporation supplier system and Kaizen process. During this 5-day online training, 4 plants' visits were organised including 2 suppliers for Toyota Motor Corporation-Chiyoda Industries and Mifune Corporation, Shin Niho Kogyo-DENSO supplier and Avex Inc. The latter, presented the company’s detailed strategies towards tackling Covid 19.  In addition to those live visits, one online dojo workshop as well as 4 discussion sessions led by prof. Richard Keegan were organised. On the last day mission, participants gave a presentation (in groups of 5) about their learnings and how they will address their individual challenges in the future.

Ignaz Grimm, Rational AG, participated to the virtual WCM training in November 2020.
The first virtual WCM training was well organised and structured. There was a clear agenda and the sessions have not been overloaded. Some technical problems occurred, but this was not a big issue. The Toyota Engineering Corporation (TEC) team and all other presenters gave us a warm welcome and were very eager to answer all questions.
For the next virtual mission, I think it would be very helpful to have some more time for the Dojo training as well as for the Q&A Sessions.  I would like to thank all EU-Japan Centre staff and Dr. Richard Keegan. You did a great job in planning, organising as well as letting us feel as if we were in Japan (or at least a bit nearer). The sessions, in which we could talk directly to Richard at the end of every lesson, were very helpful to retain the new learned methods.
It is great to receive the knowledge which Richard reached in his live time, to understand it in practice. This rating could be applied to the whole week. In my point of view, I would rate the whole week like this.Thank you so much for this valuable week, Arigato!

Interview of Dr. Richard Keegan, Adjunct Associate professor Trinity College Dublin, Coach and Co-organiser of the WCM training

While the year is playing out differently due to Covid-19 crisis, the 46th edition of the successful World Class Manufacturing training was organised online from 16 to 20 November 2020.

You have been working with the Centre for more than 20 years now. How would you describe the WCM mission in your own words?
Over the past twenty years we have seen many variations and developments of the WCM Mission, as we applied Kaizen to the process itself. This year was no exception. Faced with Covid-19 we had to be agile and adapt and develop a response that would provide participants with access to the Japanese thinking. We were obviously restricted in what we could help them experience, but we worked to try to give them as much insight as possible to help them understand the concepts and theories shared by the experts for Toyota Engineering Corporation and Murase-sensei from JIPM.

How was your experience during this 5-day online mission as a coach and individual?
Once we made the decision to engage virtually with Japan and the participants it was essential to accept what we could do as opposed to what we could not do...by that I mean, it was important to “translate” your mindset to living in the virtual, to try to listen and look attentively to the presenters and the participants. To try to forget the distance and the lack of personal engagement and to try and maximise the sharing of experience.

The best part to me was twofold....

  1. Listening to and engaging with the Japanese Sensei experts, and hearing their perspectives on the core and the current developments of Toyota Production System, Toyota Way and the JIPM TPM evolution and interaction with TPS; and
  2. Listening to and trying to support the participants as they worked to understand what they were being told. It is always such an honour to engage with serious people who are trying to develop themselves and their companies.

My advice and wishes for the next WCM Mission are always the same, whether it is a "real" or a "virtual" Mission - how can we continue to develop the learning and sharing experience, how can we continue to develop the bonds between Europe and Japan, these are always my wishes and they are even more so this year. On a practical level, I would focus even more on building the virtual team before entering into the work of the Mission with our Japanese experts.