Over 200 participants, including students and representatives from the corporate sector and non-governmental organisations, attended the half-day seminar on management principles titled “Towards Betterment: 5S & Kaizen” at the main campus. It was jointly organised by WOU and Persatuan Alumni AOTS Malaysia (PAAM) with the support of the Embassy of Japan.
The talk highlighted the steps necessary to transform to a Best Practice Operation, how to implement Kaizen and 5S, and the new techniques to improve efficiency.
The seminar was held in conjunction with the Japan Festival in Malaysia (JFM) 2008 which strives to promote a deeper understanding of the Japanese people and their culture among Malaysians through various events to further enhance the cordial relationship between the two countries. It was officially opened by His Excellency, Mr Hideaki Hoshi, Consul-General of Japan in Penang.
WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Wong Tat Meng, in his welcome address, said the seminar was part of the university’s ongoing public education efforts to bring pertinent issues to the attention of the workforce and society so that Malaysia has adequate resources as it shifts towards a knowledge-based economy.
He hoped the event would be the start of greater cooperation between the university and PAAM as well as other private and public bodies, including industry-oriented organisations. “The university is always seeking to forge ties with industry, associations, embassies and others who share our vision to continuously equip our workers and the general population with knowledge and skills for their personal and professional enrichment,” he stated.
The first speaker was Lim Eng Swee, director of consultant company, Intermedia Industrial Services, and also technical lecturer and interpreter for Panasonic Group of Companies and the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS), Kuala Lumpur. The other was Theodore Wong Kit Choy, general manager of administration/sales and marketing, Sumitomo Electric Sintered Components (M) Sdn Bhd, a Japanese multinational corporation in Shah Alam.
Lim, in his paper on ‘Start Implementing 5S: The Basic of Kaizen’ elaborated on what 5s is and is not. He stated it was not about sweeping the unwanted under the carpet, nor the work of a single person or a short term task but a team-work, continuous improvement activity that exposes existing and potential problems.
Wong, speaking on ‘Continual Improvement’, attributed Kaizen as the key to Japan’s competitive success. He said Kaizen is the gradual improvement of performance or productivity that involves everyone without entailing any large capital investments.
“Kaizen strives to empower the worker to increase worker satisfaction, facilitate a sense of accomplishment and create a sense of pride in one’s work,” he added. He noted that chaos facilitates change as it is in chaos that we are able to identify what exactly needs to be changed to bring about an improvement to the work environment.