(27) What will become of the Japanese manufacturing industry?
Thus, as a new era unfolds, what will become of Japan’s manufacturing industry, the mainstay of the country today?
Basically, I think Japan is number one in the world in terms of the strength of gemba (i.e., factory floor) in the manufacturing industry. But on the other hand, in many cases the gemba is overshadowed by the negative effects of poor management approach and strategy, which need to be improved in many ways. And it is true that the strength of gemba has been hollowed out in many parts, due to the retirement of skilled workers, overseas transfer of production, and other factors. However, in comparison to other countries, I think Japan still has the strongest gemba of the manufacturing industry in the world.
Even after the advent of the coming Great Collaboration society, I believe Japan will continue to be a manufacturing superpower. But Japan’s manufacturing industry will probably change, in some points, from that in the 20th century.
First, businesses in the manufacturing industry, regardless of size, ― whether large, medium-sized, small, or tiny ― will constantly face very fierce international competition. As a result, the manufacturing industry will probably become a place where, if likened to baseball, not amateur sandlot baseball players but professional players ― and Major League players at that ― actively participate in. Just as excellent players flock to the American big leagues from around the world, so too will excellent human resources be attracted hereafter to the Japanese manufacturing industry from all over the world. Hence, I think the status of the manufacturing industry will gradually change from that in the 20th century, when the industry was the mainstay of the country and the main employer of the people. Particularly competitive companies in the manufacturing industry would likely become world-class places, where tremendously competent people work.
Another change that would occur is that a manufacturing firm, no matter how competitive it may be, will be eliminated from the society in the future, if it neglects the two basic values of health and sustainability. Manufacturing firms today are apt to neglect basic values or to apply a double standard in judgments, in order to survive fierce competition. But, in the coming era, such firms would probably be rejected by the people. This means that Japanese manufacturing companies in the future will need very good leaders. Those companies that lack good leaders would gradually become unable to operate.
(Date published / 公開日： 6/20/2021)
(Date last updated / 最終改訂日: 6/20/2021)