Japanese Suggestion Systems, QC & TWI. Suggestion Programs, Quality Circles and Training Within Industry (TWI) – Mid-1950s to the mid-1960s in Japan. During this period, most Japanese companies that had suggestion systems averaged less than one suggestion per worker per year. Those who made suggestions were considered “fanatics” by their co-workers. The workers were given opportunities to make suggestions and TWI had taught them how to make improvements. But group-oriented thinking still impeded their acceptance of the suggestion system. The key to overcoming the final obstacle was small group activities, which shaped the suggestion system to fit the Japanese preference for group behavior. Group suggestion-making became a common practice in Japan.
Japanese Quality Circles (QC)
QC circles began in Japan in 1962. Around 1965, QC circle activity initiated the Zero Defects (ZD) movement, in which individual workers made a contract with their company to produce defect-free products. Spurred by the ZD (Zero Defect) movement and the QC circles, other production floor activities to improve quality and reduce errors spread like wildfire among large Japanese companies. It was natural, therefore, for small groups to become the core units of activity in a participative suggestion system. Communications improved and supervisors and circle suggestion leaders were able to directly ask the other seven or eight group members to make suggestions or to take turns to serving as suggestion leaders. Japanese suggestion activity, which stresses participation, soon became a part of other group activities. this led to the practice of groups of workers looking for problems, suggesting ideas, and the correcting the problems.
Update 2016 – Japanese Management Practices in Other Asian Countries
There are a number of studies on transferability of the Japanese management practices but very limited studies
focus on practices compatible with other Asian working cultures. Some research literature focus on relationship between Japanese management practice and an Asian company’s performance for example. These findings indicates that Japanese continuous improvement practices have positive relationship with these companies’ performance on quality, cost, and delivery. It is also suggested that more companies in Asia should further emphasis on implementing Japanese management practices to enhance the performance. Although Kaizen practices are increasingly implemented in Asia for the past many years, little attention has been paid to have a better understanding of the cultural problems of Kaizen implementation in many Asian companies.