Fremont, Calif. Hands Across The Workplace

California autoworkers learn new ways -- and teach some

"What we're looking for is good kaizens."

"Watch that muda."

"We have to nemawashi this."

Those are American autoworkers talking about building a car. You know, blue collars with tattoos on their forearms and nicknames like "Animal." They talk like that because they work for the Japanese, who now have more companies in America making cars than America does.

What they're saying is, let's discuss (nemawashi) how to keep making improvements (kaizens) and avoid waste (muda). And that's what they're doing. This is not how they talked -- or worked -- when GM ran this factory six years ago.

At the...

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