The Japanese philosophy contains endless ancestral wisdom that is being applied to various branches of industry today to improve processes and final finishes. One of the most widespread methods from Japan is the Monozukuri method, a form of production aimed at maximizing each step of the manufacturing process for the final product.
Historically, Japanese artisans were dedicated to the art of performing any task, taking care of every detail of the created object to optimize the benefits of the manufactured product. One of the main advantages of this method is that it allows for erasing the boundary between company departments so that all collaborators feel involved in a common work team.
What does Monozukuri mean?
Monozukuri is a Japanese term composed of the word “mono,” which means things, and the word “tsukuri,” which means to make or produce. The term is often used to refer to manufacturing activities in the manufacturing industry. Historically, the concept refers to a work ethic based on deep knowledge, multiple skills, and a passion for doing an activity well.
It is accompanied by a strong ambition to achieve perfection, a highly recognized aspiration in Japanese society that has been reflected throughout its history. There is also a notion of pride in accomplishments and respect for the materials used.
Origins of its application: The 3 M’s (muri, mura, muda)
In the late 1990s, the Monozukuri concept was coined to embody the spirit and history of Japanese manufacturing, and it essentially refers to a Lean Management approach, where the customer is the center of concern for companies.
In this context, the goal is based on achieving excellence by eliminating the 3 M’s:
- Muri (overburden),
- Mura (variability, irregularity), and
- Muda (waste).
Monozukuri and Hotozukuri
This approach is applied by the Toyota production system, which incorporates Lean Management methods and tools. In this sense, the relationship between Monozukuri and Hotozukuri is that the latter involves passion for developing people, allowing these two terms to be complementary due to the close interrelationship between people development and technique improvement through promoting higher performance. These two notions alone encompass the concept of Lean.
The pillars of Monozukuri
It is often stated that the Monozukuri concept is based on three pillars:
- Product and development:
This phase refers to the design phase, during which it is imperative to keep costs to a minimum by standardizing processes and optimizing transparency and teamwork.
The goal of this stage is to eliminate as much waste as possible in production by optimizing the production flow. Lean tools are especially useful at this stage, and digital transformation of companies can be advised to achieve the desired goals.
- Supply chain:
Here again, the objective is to reduce overall costs associated with supply chain activities.
Moreover, this method brings the entire team together to join efforts in improving production processes by identifying the root causes of failures or problems and eliminating them. As a continuous improvement method, new and better approaches will always emerge to ensure more effective results that guarantee operational efficiency.
How is the Monozukuri method implemented?
As Monozukuri is closely related to Lean management methodology, to adopt it, you must learn the functioning of Lean tools and methods, as they will enable improvements in any organization’s business. Among the most used are Six Sigma and 5S.
The Monozukuri method is a practice originating from Japanese culture that essentially focuses on improving manufacturing production and optimizing the quality of final products. It is linked to Lean management methodologies of continuous improvement and helps individuals involved in multidisciplinary teams to work more efficiently.