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Auto execs to learn Japan's car secrets

Car industry engineers and executives are being given the chance to learn the secrets of Japanese manufacturing efficiency. A programme of study visits to Japan is being organised jointly by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' Industry Forum and Automotive Academy.

They will visit carmakers such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota as well as some of their suppliers. Trips to electronics groups such as Sony and Toshiba will also be included in the itineraries.

The visits, which will last two weeks, will give delegates unprecedented access to manufacturing processes which are the envy of the world and which are rarely duplicated effectively by non-Japanese companies.

A group of 20 industrialists have recently returned from a successful pilot visit which included detailed briefings by senior Japanese managers and executives.

David said: "To tackle the skills issue there are now proper, validated courses giving recognised qualifications in the skills that manufacturers need.

"However it is vital that the people delivering and assessing these courses are right up to date with the latest thinking in terms of lean manufacturing, quality, waste elimination, cost, efficiency and delivery."

The first visit in 2005 is planned for mid-October, with another scheduled for the end of November. Further details can be obtained from Arthur David at the SMMT Industry Forum on 0121 717 6600.

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