A Short Lesson in Japanese Industrial History

From a previous blog we all know that good body corporate management is like an icy glass of coke appearing at your restaurant table. In this blog we mix our metaphors one more time and discover that good body corporate management is also like building a cool car on a production line by giving you a short lesson in Japanese industrial history.

Tesla Model 3 or Toyota Prius?  iPhone or Nokia?  RMs or Blundstones?  Victoria’s Secret or Bonds?  All options good, but which one would you select?  To me, one option in each pair is better than the other.  It is the one that is Cool.  Cool is important.  It is the same result, but better.   I think Cool can be done just as easily as the alternative.  You just must put sufficient thought into design.

Cool, and a lot of other good stuff (E.G. quality), comes from great design.  Design is not only about clothes.  Design is not only about architecture.  Design is not only about a sleek new Tesla.  Design can produce a superb body corporate experience.

But first, a boring lesson in the economic and industrial history of Japan.

When you buy something manufactured in Japan you know that you have bought quality.  Whether it be a car (the Prius mentioned above) or a television.  You expect there won’t be any niggling little issues.  Nothing breaks.  “Made in Japan” is synonymous with quality.

However, the Japanese imprimatur of quality was not always the case.  In the late 1940s and 1950s products coming out of Japan were believed by consumers all around the world to be inferior.  However, this reputation all changed because of an American academic, W. Edwards Deming.

Deming took to the next level the ideas first implemented by Henry Ford.   The Ford Motor company revolutionised manufacturing by implementing a production line process into the factories that were building the Model T cars.  The cars were produced more efficiently than ever before.  This meant quality for consumers was improved, and the cost of the car also went down for the consumers.

Deming was able to similarly revolutionise manufacturing and create Japan as an economic powerhouse with the simple notion that everyone (EVERYONE) on the production line, from the most junior to the most senior, was responsible for quality.  Every member was given the power to stop the production line if they saw something that was not right. Individuals were empowered to get imperfections fixed.

Under the Deming system the worst thing that individuals could do was to simply repeat what was going on.  Just because something was done a particular way in the past did not mean it had to be done that way in the future.  Everyone had to work together to find the better way.

Everyone had the responsibility to see opportunities for improvement, and to make suggestions to ensure the processes evolve to produce higher and higher quality.  This empowerment allowed individuals to be creative and inventive, which many people find liberating.

The result:  goods made in Japan became better, and the world came to appreciate the advantages of buying something from Japan.

Another history lesson:  About 20 years ago we at SSKB had a belief that body corporate management could and should be done better.  We still believe this.  I could tell you that we had read widely and we were aware of the management theories of Deming.

We started with a vision and although we didn’t articulate it this way, we knew what we wanted to do:

  • Make sure the people in the SSKB team care deeply about making a positive difference in the lives of the owners in the SSKB bodies corporate
  • Unleash the team’s innate creativity and design and drive a frictionless experience for committees, owners, tenants, contractors, and each other.

The concept for body corporate management was like a production line:  breaking down the elements of body corporate management into specialist fields of activity: fields like client solutions, client financials, CM, ACM, Company Care, SAS and Star.  Then those experts were empowered to drill down on the tasks to be done, creating subsets of specialty and expertise like accounts payable, accountant, developer consultant, team leader, levy management, and many more.  Our specialization allows us to do body corporate management better than anywhere else.

Each individual in the SSKB is highly skilled and passionate.  We are all empowered to improve the design, making our service sleek and frictionless, and more closely meeting the unique needs of each client.

SSKB is unique in the way we have broken down the entire process to allow experts and specialists in each area of strata management.  Other body corporate businesses (our competitors) have their people doing lots of different tasks, and generally not doing them as well as we do them.  They make errors because they have to know lots of different processes.

Everyone contributes to quality.  Like building a car, we stop the production line if we seem imperfections.

The body corporate car which comes off our assembly line also needs to have cup holders so we can safely carry the icy glasses of coke which we will be delivering!

Stay strong, and embrace good design.


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