The Organizers

Michel Baudin and Brad Schmidt have been partners in the organization of factory tours in Japan since 2005. Michel had organized tours for foreign visitors during his stint in diplomatic service in 1980, which had given him an appreciation for the job. By the time a Spanish client approached him with the same request 25 years later, he decided to join forces with Brad, who already had a thriving practice in this area. This was the start of a partnership of eight years so far, and this tour is their latest project.

Michel Baudin

Summarized from the author page on Michel Baudin’s blog:

M.-Baudin-in-Q-and-ASince 1981, I have been working to understand the human and technical dynamics of manufacturing, and to contribute to their improvement. Why did I choose this field? It was not the direction I had started in.

In 1980, I was a researcher in probability theory, applied to seismology, which had led me to Japan in 1977. As a French draftee with knowledge of Japan assigned to the scientific service of the embassy in Tokyo in 1979, part of my job was organizing and leading factory tours for visiting industrialists. Their reactions made me realize that there was something special to these factories.

This exposure to manufacturing made me realize that it offered a greater opportunity to be useful than earthquake prediction. But first, I had to learn manufacturing, which kept me busy for the following decade, working first as a production engineer, then as a developer/implementer of manufacturing software, and finally as a junior partner to Japanese consultant Kei Abe. I later started my own group, which morphed into the Takt Times Group in 2008, involving partners in France, Russia, Spain and China.

Organizing factory tours has been part of our services, in the US and Europe. For Japan, we have been relying on Brad Schmidt and his team. 

Brad Schmidt

From Brad Schmidt’s desk:

img001It’s been 15 years since I started on the Lean journey. In that journey I have visited over 200 companies, organized over 120 trips to Japan to see some of the best lean companies in the world. I have also had the privilege of teaching Lean thinking around the world (25 countries) and learning from those experiences.

My greatest joy is seeing my customers surpass me in great ideas and taking their companies’ further in lean than I would have been able to. They are my life-long friends and partners.

I have also seen the best intentioned Lean programs fail. I am totally convinced that the way forward lies in simplicity. Simple means greater acceptance and also focus. Focusing on the vital few concepts also allows for everyone’s buy-in including management. At Makoto, we totally believe in doing 20% of the things for 80% of the result. I have repeatedly seen that give the biggest return on investment and also be the most effective as a long term culture change.

When I first started consulting with no money or no connections, I always dreamed about being able to fund the Lean transformation myself. I saw so much potential!

I am now very happy to have partnered with Makoto Investments where I can now finally offer this service.

The first job God created was to “take care of the garden”. This was a wholistic and empowering job. I am convinced that when we do lean right, we can put those concepts into any job on this planet.

If you want more joy for your people and agree with us in investing where the money is made, then welcome to the family. I am personally looking forward to the day when your team surpasses us.


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