Thursday morning and we made a short drive to the outskirts of Kyoto , to visit Omron.
Most of us know Omron for their medical devices but this operation makes 1500 industrial automation and electrical system products.
What is unique about this plant is the fact that all of the 400 employees are either mentally, emotionally or physically disabled.
Omron formed an alliance with an orthopaedic surgeon back in the 60’s with the mission to get disabled citizens into paid, profitable work.
The enterprise is not a charity but a chance and has a dual strategy.
Firstly they identify the level of disability and understand the challenges faced by their employees. The second strategy is to create automation and very good Kaizen to overcome these challenges.
They also have a 3S mentality. Just worry about the Sort, Straighten and Shine and we will have help with the Standardisation and will all Sustain! A simple approach and very effective.
Their 3S and Kaizen activities would put able bodied workers to shame with around 80 per employee per year implemented!
This is a moving experience and one I will remember for a long time.
Oh and just in case you were wondering, they generally achieve higher productivity rates that similar industries and out perform on profitability!