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A lean manufacturing machine

by Vincent Ciccarello

Masaaki ImaiSouth Australian manufacturers and business leaders will have a rare opportunity to hear Masaaki Imai, international Lean management guru, bestselling author and ďfatherĒ of the global Continuous Improvement movement, at Lean Leadership 2006.

The inaugural congress of the KAIZEN Institute of Australia, in conjunction with UniSA, Lean Leadership 2006 will be held at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on May 30.

The KAIZEN Institute takes its name from the Japanese term for "change for the better" and was founded by Imai in 1985. Lean manufacturing embraces the KAIZEN notion of continuous improvement by minimising waste and inefficiencies and derives from the revolutionary Toyota Production System.

President of the Instituteís Australian chapter, Alex Crossley, said Imai was responsible for popularising the concept of KAIZEN in the West.

"He is one of the two foremost gurus on the subject in the world," he said.

Lean Leadership 2006 will be Imaiís sole public appearance in SA during his first visit to Australia in almost 20 years. Crossley says congress delegates have the opportunity to "see how to do Lean properly from real masters.

"Many people see Lean as a set of tools, but itís actually a far more holistic system," he said.

The Toyota production lineOther featured presenters include senior representatives from Toyota Australia, Commonwealth Bank, Lucent Asia Pacific and Manchester Unity.

Lindsay Ryan, director of UniSAís Strategic Partnerships, said the University formed an alliance with the KAIZEN Institute and the Department of Trade and Economic Development in response to the concerns of SA businesses.

"We regularly hear companies saying they canít compete against China and other low labour rate countries with cheap imports," he said.

"Lean is increasingly becoming the global tool for companies seeking sustainable productivity improvements and operational excellence. There is not a business in existence that cannot benefit from applying Lean management principles."

UniSA is the only tertiary institution to collaborate with the KAIZEN Institute of Australia, largely through the presentation of the KAIZEN Blitz series of one-day seminars, an innovative, concentrated and repeatable way to deliver organisational benefits with minimal resources.

For more information about Lean leadership 2006, visit http://business.unisa.edu.au/strategic/about/leanleadership.asp or contact Sandra Walker, University of South Australia Strategic Partnerships (08) 8302 0801 or email sandra.walker@unisa.edu.au