Saturday, June 11, 2016

Yoichi Ueno - Japanese Leader in Efficiency - Productivity Movement

Yoichi Ueno graduated from Tokyo Imperial University psychology subject in 1903  and joined the same institution. He was given an active part in translation, editing, and writing psychology materials.

However, Ueno did not like working in abstract theory and moved to the study of the application field like experimental psychology, advertisement psychology, aptitude tests and gradually got into efficiency study.

Psychology is study of human behavior, and efficiency is also related to human behavior. He was impressed by the time and motion studies work of American F.B. Gilbreth. Ueno was strongly impressed by the scientific management of Taylor also, but Taylor died in in 1915.

Ueno emerged as an enlightened  diffuser of this efficiencyand he became a management consultant and, author, teacher, and  thinker.

Technique and way of thinking of Ueno developed into  Japanese-style efficiency improvement movement.  Ueno as psychologist showed interest for applied study and industry efficiency in his early days itself. He saw an article on way to study human movement and a  photograph in an  American magazine during university attendance at school in around 1907. He got interested  and  sent a letter to Gilbreth, who is the founder of Motion Study directly. There was repeat correspondence afterward and the deepened friendship deepened. Mrs. Gilbreth was also a psychologist and she sent  many documents to Ueno.  Ueno made full use of it and published  "psychology of person and business efficiency" from  the content in 1919. He introduced time and motion studies of work in that publication.

Furthermore,  Ueno met Gilbreth, when Ueno went for European and American inspection on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce in 1921.

In the meeting of The Society of Industrial Engineers held in Chicago, Gilbreth let Ueno give a talk about "Japanese efficiency exercise" and did not spare praise. He invited Ueno as the  first honorary member of SIE committee.  Yoichi Ueno felt great joy on this honor. Friendship  with Mrs. Gilbreth followed after Gilbreth's death in 1924.

There was Scientific Management special feature in extra edition of the magazine "business world" Ueno was asked by Jujiro Izeki, the chief editor to write on Taylor's administration. The "Secret to omit useless trouble" and  the works of Yukinori Hoshino of initial (1912 through 1913)  andToshiro Ikeda published with a rush were updated by Uenu (check the correctness of the translation).


From translational documents introduction to practical improvement of factory efficiency

 In a lecture, Ueno was  asked by the manager of Lion Tooth Brushing main office  to come and study factory efficiency for work improvement of bag filling factory of toothbrushing  powder in year1920. Ueno had experience with reading and writing only and had no practical experience in real efficiency improvement until then. It was written  that he was not able to sleep the previous night. Next day, he has to use stop watches. Ueno observed using stopwatch 15 girl workers, changed the places for the assembly line, established breaks of 15 minutes at 10:00 and 3:00. He made reduced the actual working hours of the day by one hour. He succeeded in increasing the amount of production by 20% per  day. Reduced the use of space by  30% and showed savings in work-in-process inventory.

And he emphasized that profit brought about by such an efficiency study has to be distributed into shares for owners, managers, consumers, workers.  We are right to say a  pioneer figure of management consultancy arrived in Japan.

The example of this Lion Toothbrushing factory was illustrated  in Osaka "factory administration class" hosted by the chamber of commerce in 1921. It impressed Osaka chamber of commerce vice-president Taichi Nakayama and the relationship was established. It resulted in consulting firms,such as Nakayama sun temple (club cosmetics), FUKUSKE tabi  and the results of these studies spread to other firms and they also came forward to seek improvement in factory efficiency. The Osaka success transformed  Ueno from an experience of  translating scientific management knowledge to the stage of scientific management practitioner and consultant. He took charge as temporary efficiency section manager at the Osaka Mint Bureau and he continued this duty for several years spending an average of three days in month from 1925.  Understanding and support of Taichi Nakayama in particular are said to have contributed to the practice and study of industrial efficiency of Ueno very much.

The establishment of cooperation society industry efficiency research institute

 1, Sakae Shibusawa and  Iesato Tokugawa became promoters to deal with labor movement that  developed soon after World War I in 1919. A foundation was established as research engine to plan cooperation and harmony of the labor and management as super hierarchic engine of semi-governmental management.

 In fact, ILO (I.L.O.) was established in 1919 and Japan joined it  promptly in the same year. It is also in the same year that cooperation society was established.

 Ueno  prepared for the industrial efficiency research institute establishment in cooperation society saying that efficiency improvement of factory included base of union-management cooperation. He was designated unofficially as the director. Cooperation society pushed forward this establishment preparations. In the meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce and dispatched Ueno for European and American factory inspection study.  Ueno was appointed as Director cooperation society industry efficiency research institute in1922, at the age of 39 years. The institute worked on the principle that cooperation was a management issue and not a legal issue.

 However, with the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, this institute was closed. But a new establishment, Nihon Sangyo efficiency research institute was started in cooperation hall in 1925. Ueno continued his study, publication, lectures, classes, consultation, diagnosis about efficiency and training.

Start of Japanese efficiency alliance society

In Osaka, Kanagawa, Hamamatsu, Aichi, Ehime, Hyogo, and Tokyo efficiency meetings and efficiency studies were taking place.  A Japan efficiency alliance society was started as a nationwide coalition of these groups in 1927 and Ueno became its President.  A monthly "industry efficiency" was published.

In 1929, he attended the scientific management international Committee meet (CIOS) as representative of alliance society globally. He organized United States industry inspection team by invitation of the Taylor Association Headquarters in 1930. He thought of the plan of "efficiency handbook" for scientific management for Japan. He planned for the publication of "the Taylor complete works" in the context of  Japanese circumstances. The publication involved laborious work and it needed seven years before completion in 1941.  It was an extremely valuable document in history of management efficiency of Japan. Takuo Godou, Okiie Yamashita sent prefaces to this "efficiency handbook" and praised it.

The Japanese Management Association was established on March 30, 1942 as the sole nationwide private organization for the promotion of technology, after the dissolution and integration of the Japan Management Federation established by Ueno (established in 1927) and the Japan Industry Association (established in 1931). These two were regarded as the leading organizations for the promotion of “noritsu (efficiency)” through scientific management approach in Japan at the time.

However, Ueno established Japanese efficiency school in the ground of Todoroki, Tokyo in April of the year and then started current industrial efficiency junior college, forerunner of Sanno Institute of Management. Japan Management Association was started with chairperson Takuo Godou as chairperson, and President Kakuzo Morikawa  as President. Ueno participated in this as Counselor.

Incarnation of original efficiency concept

 In 1935, Ueno launched monthly magazine called "ochibo" from Nihon Sangyo efficiency research institute, and explained his way of thinking about efficiency.

(1) What kind of thing is efficiency?
 Efficiency means a state that is rational means every thing was done for a purpose. If resource are too big for the purpose, "it is useless (waste)" and "is impossible (to do a job)" if resources are too small for the purpose.

(2) Wrong efficiency concept
 It does not force effort without aim with efficiency, and it is not efficiency to do most even more. Efficiency should not increase, and, with thing which should be accomplished, only this is principle not principles as much as possible.

(3) Idea of efficiency has the same origin as Orient-like religious morality
 Without "unreasonableness," it is efficiency without "waste." In other words, basic principle of efficiency accords with teaching of moderation of Buddha and Confucius.

(4) Scientific administration is method to discover the standard way (as standard equipment) and to enforce this standard method in the factory.

(5) There are three in order to perform scientific administration
 The first stage: Plan……Make standard
 The second stage: Enforcement……Carry out
 The third stage: Control……Control enforcement in the light of standard

(6) Conquer "waste" and "irregularity" with efficiency study, and it is said that it is pursuit that discovers right way.

Approach and efficiency Way connected to Oriental thought

 Ueno connected way of thinking of Taylor  in scientific administration to sayings of Buddhism and Confucianism.
It is said  to be efficiency when "we omit waste, and remove unreasonableness", "we protect moderation", and "walk moderation". The famous Muda, Mura, Muri. Don't waste, Don't burden, Don't vary output requirements too much.

Postwar Ueno and creativity development

In 1946, the results Ueno showed over  more than 40 years were evaluated from both the United States and Japanese Government. He was 64 years old at that time.

He contributed to efficiency school resumption (1946) in Japan, the establishment (1950) of industrial efficiency junior college, organization (1949) of federation of all-Japan efficiency, the establishment (1951) of Japan management consultant society.

It is about 1955, he published general enlightenment book and technical books "development of originality" in sequence, but theme called creativity development was the last of Ueno's publication and in that he approached issues like "what is human being?", and, "science for solution to the problem."

He prophecied that a time will come,  when we can export views on Japanese efficiency to the United States. Ueno breathed his last in as 74 year old man in October, 1957.


Management, Education and Competitiveness: Europe, Japan and the United States
Rolv Petter Amdam
Routledge, 15-Apr-2013 - Business & Economics - 288 pages

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