Toyota Shock Tactics At Porsche – History Revisited

The very start of my Lean journey was back in the UK, whilst working at Unipart Jaguar in the early 90’s.

Unipart had selected the world’s best Kaizen practitioners, Shin-Gijutsu to advise them on how best to implement Kaizen and the Toyota production System into the Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing Operations.

I was very fortunate to meet and work with Yoshiki Iwata and Chihiro Nakao at that time, and recall the stories they told about their experiences, some of which were somewhat sanitised and featured in the 1st edition of Lean Thinking by Womack and Jones.

It was to my surprise, I recently found an article written in 1994, describing the story of how Porsche hired these ex Toyota Kaizen masters and how they subsequently helped transform their operations, and basically saved their bacon!

Alas both of these legendary gentlemen, have since passed away, however I thought I would bring this tale back to life, as it is a fascinating read!

My favourite part of the story is when Nakao San asked to see the engineers hands to check they were dirty and the Finance guys’s shoes to check if the soles were dirty, thus proving he had been out on the shopfloor!


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