Japanese way of
Taj hotel group had invited Mr. Masai Imai
from Japan to hold a workshop for
staff members were very skeptical - the hotel
is doing excellent business, this
person from Japan has no exposure to hotel
industry - what exactly is he going
everybody gathered as planned for the workshop
in the conference hall sharp at9
Masai was introduced to them - a not so
impressive personality, nor the English
all that good; spoke as if he was first
formulating each sentence in Japanese
and then translating it into rather clumsy
morning! Let's start work. I am told this is a
workshop; but I see neither work
nor shop. So let's proceed where work is
happening. Let's start with the first
room on the first floor."
Masai, followed by the senior management, the
participants, the video camera
crew trouped out of the conference room and
proceeded to the destination.
happened to be the laundry room of the hotel.
Masai entered the room and stood at the
window, "beautiful view!" he
staff knew it; they need not invite a Japanese
consultant to tell them this!
room with such a beautiful view is being
wasted as a laundry room. Shift the
laundry to the basement and convert this into
a guest room."
Now nobody had ever thought about that!
manager said, "Yes, it can be done."
let's do it," Mr. Masai said.
sir, I will make a note of this and we will
include it in the report on the
workshop that will be prepared." Manager
me, but there is nothing to note down in this.
Let's just do it, just
now." Mr. Masai.
now?" Asked the Manager.
decide on a room on the ground floor/basement
and shift the stuff out of this
room right away. It should take a couple of
hours, right?" asked Mr.
come back here just before lunch. By then all
this stuff will have got shifted
out and the room must be ready with the
carpets, furniture etc. and from today
you can start earning the few thousand that
you charge your customers for a
Sir." The manager had no option.
next destination was the pantry. The group
entered. At the entrance were two
huge sinks full of plates to be washed.
Masai removed his jacket and started washing
Please, what are you doing?" the manager
didn't know what to say and what
I am washing the plates", Mr. Masai.
sir, there is staff here to do that." Manager
Mr. Masai continued washing,
"I think sink is for washing plates, there are
stands here to keep the
plates and the plates should go into the
the officials wondered - did they require a
consultant to tell them this?
finishing the job, Mr. Masai asked, "How many
plates do you have?'
so that there should never be any shortage."
answered the Manager.
Masai said, "We have a word in Japanese
-'Muda'. Muda means delay, Muda
means unnecessary spending. One lesson to be
learned in this workshop is to
avoid both. If you have plenty of plates,
there will be delay in cleaning them
up. The first step to correct this situation
is to remove all the excess
we will say this in the report." Manager.
wasting our time in writing the report is
again an instance of 'Muda'. We must
pack the extra plates in a box right away and
send these to whichever other
section of Taj requires these. Throughout the
workshop now we will find out
where all we find this 'Muda' hidden."
then at every spot and session, the staff
eagerly awaited to find out Muda and
learn how to avoid it.
the last day, Mr. Masai told a story.
Japanese and an American, both fond of
hunting, met in a jungle. They entered
deep jungle and suddenly realized that they
had run out of bullets. Just then
they heard a lion roaring. Both started
running. But the Japanese took a short
break to put on his sports shoes.
American said, "What are you doing? We must
first get to the car."
Japanese responded, "No. I only have to ensure
that I remain ahead of
the participants engrossed in listening to the
story, realized suddenly that
the lion would stop after getting his victim!
lesson is: competition in today's world is so
fierce, that it is important to
stay ahead of other, even by just a couple of
steps. And you have such a huge
and naturally well endowed country. If you
remember to curtail your production
expenditure and give the best quality always,
you will be miles ahead as
compared to so many other countries in the
world.", concluded Mr. Masai.
on every Japanese bus stop.
Only buses will stop here – Not your time.
So Keep walking towards your goal.