Herman Miller and the Japanese Kaizen Technique

If you've ever stepped foot inside an office, you've probably seen a few fancy looking chairs. More times than not, these aesthetic bad boys are Herman Miller Aerons. While the chair is great to look at and even greater to sit in, rarely does the process of making one of these chairs come to mind. I mean, it must take extreme precision and tedium to make one right? Well, what you read next might surprise you: The Herman Miller chair is made using the Japanese Kaizen Technique. This process was imported directly from Toyota in the 90's. What makes it unique is that it isn't about grand ideas or huge structural changes; rather, it's about tiny improvements that accrue over time. So, in Herman Miller's case, these involve adjustments that are extremely small that save seconds of time. The thing is, if millions of employees are employing these adjustments, these small seconds of time saved turn into many hours of time saved in the long run. Before the Kaizen, a chair was made every 82 seconds. Now, that time is 17 seconds per chair!? So next time you see a Herman Miller Chair or even buy one for yourself, think about how beautifully efficient the process of making one is. It will make you appreciate the chair that much more. Who knew manufacturing could be a work of art?

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