Note di management n° 23
oggi in Giappone
Propongo un articolo
uscito il 22 Maggio 2008 sul giornale giapponese ASAHI SHIMBUN che
spiega, con la tipica sintesi giornalistica, cosa è stata ed è oggi
la prassi della qualità nell'economia giapponese.
Il testo è in inglese
preceduto, per comodità del lettore, da un abstract in italiano.
gli straordinari per le attività 'kaizen'
giapponese 'kaizen' indica, nella letteratura economica, il
miglioramento continuo tipico della logica di qualità introdotta da
Kaoru Ishikawa nel suo 'Guide to Quality Control' nel 1976.
ASHAI SHIMBUN ci dice che dal 1° Giugno 2008 verrà introdotto
negli stabilimenti Toyota, con oltre 40.000 dipendenti, il pagamento
del lavoro straordinario dedicato ad attività 'kaizen', cioè
dedicate al miglioramento della produzione.
partecipazione ad attività 'kaizen' , organizzate a partire dal 1964
su circa 5.000 circoli della qualità composti mediamente da 8
persone, è stata considerata volontaria perché compresa nei
parametri di valutazione del lavoratore da parte dell'azienda.
Tutto questo ha
tratto origine dalla morte nel 2002 di un lavoratore trentenne nello
stabilimento Toyota di Tsutsumi per collasso durante il lavoro.
Distrettuale di Nagoya ha stabilito nel Novembre 2007 che la morte è
stata causata da 'karoshi' , cioè sovra-lavoro.
Toyota to pay
overtime allowances for 'kaizen' activities
Prompted by a
ruling over a death from overwork, Toyota Motor Corp. will pay full
overtime to factory workers engaged in after-hour
kaizen activities designed to improve efficiency and product
quality, sources said.
Japan's top automaker now pays compensation only for up to two extra
hours a month because it considers employees are engaged voluntarily
in kaizen activities.
But the company decided Wednesday to regard kaizen as part of the
workers' job requirements and start paying allowances on June 1 to
cover all work done after hours, the sources said.
Labor unions at the company have agreed to the revision.
Toyota's 40,000 factory workers in Japan are all engaged in kaizen,
or continuous improvement, as a core part of the quality control
The company has about 5,000 QC circle groups, which typically
consist of eight workers each. The QC activities started in 1964 for
production-line workers to brainstorm for improvements.
Some employees and their families have said the workers are
effectively forced to engage in QC activities because the results
and achievements from the activities are included in their
In November 2007, a Nagoya District Court ruling attributed the 2002
death of a Toyota employee to overwork, saying QC activities are
"duties under the employer's control."
The ruling was finalized in December after the central government,
which was the defendant in the worker's compensation lawsuit,
decided not to appeal.
The 30-year-old worker at the company's Tsutsumi Plant in Toyota,
Aichi Prefecture, died in February 2002 after collapsing during
The man, who served as chief of a QC circle group, reported he was
engaged in the activities for 16 hours during the four months before
However, he actually spent hours on weekends and paid holidays
preparing documents and other materials for the activities,
according to the ruling.
His wife filed the suit in July 2005 against the chief of the Toyota
Labor Standards Inspection Office, demanding revocation of its
decision that overwork did not cause the employee's death.
Toyota's decision to pay full overtime for kaizen came amid growing
criticism against long work hours leading to health damage and
karoshi, or death from overwork.
McDonald's Co. (Japan) said Tuesday it will pay overtime to about
2,000 employees it categorizes as managers, who had been denied
compensation for extra hours worked.
Toyota's decision is expected to prompt other manufacturers to
review practices concerning work and compensation.
It is estimated that more than 30,000 QC circle groups are organized
at domestic manufacturers, such as automakers and electronics
Toyota plans to encourage workers to review and simplify QC
activities so that overtime work will not exceed two hours a month.
A senior Toyota official said the revision will inevitably push up