chapter  10
18 Pages

A Quick-Setting (“Q-S”) Campaign

Nippon Kogaku K.K. (Oi Plant)
WithShigeo Shingo

Principal products are Nikon single-lens reflex cameras and compact cameras, all types of lenses, surveying instruments, measurement instruments, microscopes, telescopes, eyeglasses, and semiconductor-related devices. The cameras, lenses, and semiconductor-related devices are manufactured at the firm’s main plant in Oi. The oil crisis of 1973 brought about broad structural market changes in the optical equipment industry. These rapid and wide-ranging market shifts caused the business financial picture to deteriorate and, in particular, work-in-process inventory rose considerably, revealing how ill-equipped previous manufacturing arrangements had been for dealing with change. To “respond without wastefulness to market changes,” the first requirement was to cut processing times to the minimum by using small lots, ultimately lots of one. Many large and small problems needed to be solved to lower costs as time went on. Among these, setup changes — which had always been taken as given and which had consequently been ignored — constituted one of the most troublesome bottlenecks in the whole process.