Anzai Production Company: 10th International Study Mission to Japan

Anzai produces sorting machines for the agricultural industry, with sorting done based on colour, size and foreign materials. Machines are manufactured for sorting rice, wheat, sesame, soybeans, coffee beans, peanuts, tea leaves, corn flakes, potato chips and others. Anzai has 95% of the market share in Japan.

20 Keys were introduced in 2003 when the average level for the Keys was at 1,8. A few priority Keys were kicked off in 2003 and the next year (2004) all 20 were started, when they realised that the Keys are closely integrated and that is a synergistic effect in terms of results achieved as well as sustainability. They achieved the 20 Keys Bronze Award in 2003 and the Silver Award in 2011 (awarded by PDI, Japan). To put things into perspective, the requirements for the Bronze Award are not only about level of excellence in terms of the maturity levels for the Keys (the levels 1 to 5 as measured by the 20 Keys benchmarking and progress review system), but also key “hard” measures. In addition to the requirement of at least an average level of 3,25 for all 20 Keys, a doubling of overall productivity, 80% improvement in key quality measures and 50% reduction in system inventory are required. For the Silver Award , in addition to at least an average level of 3,75 for all 20 Keys, also a tripling of overall productivity, 90% improvement in key quality measures and a 75% reduction in system inventory. Their target for end of 2018 is a level 4 and they set themselves a target for 2019 is to achieve a level of 4,75; which can be summarised as an almost “waste” free, exceptional level of quality, cost effectiveness, delivery, safety and people engagement operations system!

The visit on the floor was really great and we observed a truly world class company in action.

They ran some production specifically for the visiting group, letting us experience it real time on the floor.

To follow are some photographs taken during the visit. As always with photographs, gives an indication of the very important and foundation elements of a world class organisation, like the safety standards, efficient workplace organisation, ergonomics to make work easy (and safe), standards of cleanliness and hygiene, efficient flow of production, how machines are cared for, the energy of people, etc. These issues are important building blocks for sustainable operations excellence and improvement. What is more difficult to see are the closeness to customers, planning and scheduling, maintenance practices, quality assurance systems, skill versatility, flexibility of production, continuous process improvements, effective information technology and systems, etc. All these issues are addressed by the 20 Keys system. At a level of 4 with the 20 Keys these issues have been tested thoroughly at Anzai to ensure that it is leading, best practices.

The visiting group, including myself, who visited many excellent factories across the world over the last 35 years or so, was hugely impressed, not only with the products, machines and facilities (“beautiful products are made in a beautiful factory”) but also with the people (“engaged, happy and friendly people”).

We will definitely again visit Anzai Production Company with the next 20 Keys Study Tour to Japan, please join us then (and for those of you who participated in this year’s tour, join us again)!

To read more about ODI’s Continuous Operations Improvement Systems, click here.

Author: Johan Benadie : Director at ODI


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