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Going digital? Lean augmentation by Japanese manufacturers

The autumn 2021 second Sustainable Transformation Seminar is held by lecturer Takefumi Mokudai with the title "Going digital? Lean augmentation by Japanese manufacturers". The format is 25 minutes presentation and 20 minutes of guided and open discussion with a KTH moderator/host.

Time: Fri 2021-10-15 12.15 - 13.00

Location: Digital, Zoom

Language: English

Participating: Takefumi Mokudai


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About the seminar

There has been growing interest in a new wave of digital technologies in the Japanese automotive industry, where ‘lean’ is the dominant production paradigm. One of the primary triggers for digitalisation has been the German initiative—Industry 4.0.

My colleagues and I conducted case studies of seven Japanese carmakers and suppliers to investigate the interactions (or tensions) between digitalisation and lean production. We found the case firms selectively adopted digital technologies to enhance their lean production principles. We labelled this type of digitalisation as ‘lean augmentation’.

In this seminar, I will provide some characteristic examples of digitalisation efforts by the case firms. I will also extend our discussion to implications of digital transformation on continuous improvements (kaizen), the role of human involvement, and the potential risk of the incremental and bottom-up approach by the case firms.

Related article

Mokudai, et al. (2021) ‘Digital technologies as lean augmentation: a preliminary study of Japanese automotive manufacturers’, International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 21(3), 228-249

Speaker: Takefumi Mokudai, Associate Professor, Kyushu University Business School

A man with dark hair, glasses and a dark suit.
Mokudai Takefumi.

Takefumi Mokudai is an Associate Professor at Kyushu University Business School (QBS), Japan. After receiving his PhD from Hiroshima University in 2001, he has taught strategic management and production operations management at Tohoku Gakuin University and the Department of Automotive Science (Kyushu University) before joining QBS in 2016.

His current research topics include digital transformation in automotive manufacturing, R&D decision-making using real options reasoning, and industrialisation strategy of science-based innovations in the adhesive industry.

Upcoming seminars

  • 12 November – Mélanie Despeisse
  • 3 December – Anders Johansson

More information about the Sustainable Transformation Seminars

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Last changed: Oct 15, 2021