BackgroundThe NPS Kenkyukai (The NPS Research Society) aims to support, contribute to and improve manufacturing businesses in Japan. The members of the Kenkyukai (The Research Society) believe that a modern civilisation that has forgotten the art of manufacturing will eventually collapse. Therefore, the mission of the Kenkyukai is
to pass down the Monodukurino Shiso (the Philosophy of the Japanese Art of Manufacturing) and foster future, high-quality Japanese manufacturers who can help protect the prosperity of Japan.
The New Production System (NPS) is a management philosophy for manufacturing businesses as well as a method of enhancing a corporate vitality. This system, based on the Toyota Production System (TPS) or the ‘just-in-time’ system, aims at the total elimination of all muda (wastefulness; that is, any activity that deviates from optimal resources allocation) to achieve the best possible quality, the lowest possible cost and use of resources, and the shortest possible product an delivery lead times.
In the late 1970s, the founding members of the NPS Kenkyukai realised that the Toyota’s Kaizen Method could be implemented not only in the automobile industry but also in other manufacturing businesses. Subsequently, five Japanese independent manufacturers in various industrial fields organised the NPS Kenkyukai to explore other more efficient management system than the TPS.
A core concept of the NPS is arranging all of the processes in the production sequence in a single, smooth flow based on the rate of sales. After Mr Taichi Ohno, the founder of the TPS, became a Supreme Adviser to the NPS Kenkyukai, numerous TPS Kaizen professionals (called ‘Practicing Officers’) from the Toyota Motors followed him. They joined the NPS Kenkyukai to enhance the manufacturing methods and management abilities of Japanese independent manufacturers.
The NPS Kenkyukai is a type of membership society that only allows one Japanese manufacturer from each business field to become a member.
Currently, 40 manufacturers and their 10 subsidiaries are members of the NPS Kenkyukai.
The Kenkyukai is administered by the NPS Management Institute (called MIP in Japanese) and its board members comprise prominent corporate executives in Japan. The most characteristic feature of the institute is that it is the only Kaizen Method consulting firm that is officially recognised by Toyota Motors. Toyota Motors is also a shareholder in the institute.
The conditions of joining the NPS Kenkyukai are as follows:
- 1. The CEO of the company wishing to join the society should be sympathetic to
the NPS Management
- 2. The company must be a Japanese manufacturer with its own business brand or its own engineering core.
- 3. The company must not have any issue with the NPS’s single rule,
i.e. ‘Only One Company from One Industry’.
- 4. The company must be recommended by two existing members of the NPS Kenkyukai.
As of 31st December 2015, the significant data of the NPS Kenkyukai are as follows:
- 1. The total sales of all of the members is 2,521,515 million JPY.
- 2. The net profit of all the members is 361,264 million JPY.
- 3. The total number of employees including part-timers is 152,407 people.
In brief, the NPS Kenkyukai is estimated to contribute approximately a 3% share of the manufacturing sector of Japan's GDP and hire almost 2% of the total number of the manufacturing workers of Japan.