7 lean principles from Panasonic



In October 2018, the tenth annual Lean meeting took place and this year, it was done in Japan, the birthplace of the lean methodology.
In a series of seminars, the creator of the methodology Dr. Yoshi Kobayashi took his guests on a 20 keys® journey. The partners and clients of the lean methodology, coming to Japan from all over the world, had a first-hand experience in the structure, processes and good lean practices in one of the biggest manufacturers ever.

The guests also had the chance to personally meet Dr. Yoshi Kobayashi, who originally came up with the concept and also serves as a president of the PPORF Development Institute Inc., and to experience authentic Japanese culture and lifestyle. 

Our team of business consultants, headed by Toshko Petkov, Business Consulting Partner at Next Consult, and our Lean clients also took part in the events. Mr Petkov talked to us about the journey and new things they saw and learned there – we will post this in a series of articles shortly.

Our first stop on this journey is the Panasonic Switching Technologies factory, which manufactures keys for the automotive industry, as well as machines for the heavy industry. You probably have a Panasonic product in your very car. How do they stay lean? Let’s see!


The factory – a place for innovations

For Panasonic, the biggest priority is client’s satisfaction and being able to quickly respond to the ever-changing customer demands. This is why in their manufacturing processes there are many methods to optimise and improve them.


Panasonic’s top 7 lean secrets

1. The best system for machine maintenance with a developed visual management that indicates areas of improvement and opportunities for increase of productivity

2. The company is one of the best in the world when it comes to Key 1 (a safe, clean, organised and effective workplace). Many organisations still consider this as an add-on to the “real process of manufacturing”. In Panasonic and the other companies that were part of the tour these issue is addressed only with the best methods, which are part of the Lean methodology.

3. A training room for real work situations stimulations

4. An effective Kaizen system for managing and implementation of improvement suggestions5. Recycling of 100% of the metals, 99.9% of the chemicals and 100% of the plastic used in the manufacturing.

6. Creation of tools and automated processes for the manufacturing7. Application of the high-level “Work in small groups” principles (Key 3) for improving the team work and problem solving.

These practices and processes ensure that Panasonic remains a leader in its respective industry and win the trust of its partners and clients all over the world.

They can also transform and improve your company! We have been a partner of 20 keys® and the PPORF Development Institute Inc. for a number of years and our consultants are very experienced in applying the lean principles. Contact our business consultans.




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