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Participant Testimonies

A superbly run Lean trip delivering deep insights into Toyota and its key suppliers. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed.
Declan Carey
Lean Leader
FP McCann
Belfast, N.Ireland

Most life-changing trip I have ever taken. I spent 60k on a university degree that I’m still paying off. This left the degree for dead. The combination of practical learning, Paul’s combined learnings and passion, Mami san’s extremely hard work and the Japanese wisdom provided by various Sensai’s made this a trip of a lifetime. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
Matt Loveday
New South Wales, Australia

Blown away by the experience. Changed my life and can’t wait to send more people so that their lives can be changed as well.
Team 30 participant

Personal life changing experience.
Nick Moran
Lean Manufacturing Manager
Alberta Oil Tool
Tasmania, Australia

This is my 5th study mission and I have brought more than 50 people on the mission. I have been very fortunate to meet Paul Akers and Mami san to show me Japan through the lens of the Japan Study Mission.
Robert Rockefeller
Nekon Pty Ltd
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Paul, thank you for changing MY life by providing me the thought process to change OTHER people’s lives.
Rick Black
VP eCommerce & Product Management
ABR Wholesalers, Inc.
Rochester, NY, USA

This trip delivers! I wanted a Gemba into the philosophy and culture that could support lean. I did not want to let my people down by being another failed lean project and I believe I now have the support needed for a successful transformation. Education plus experience plus exposure to other lean thinkers is priceless!
Ryan Jackson
Electrician Supervisor
San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks
San Francisco, CA, USA

I am near speechless at the conclusion of my JSM. The entire trip was packed with learning and exposure to amazing and new things. Paul’s commitment to constant improvement is not only evident in the quality of this trip but happens directly in front of you. He provides an amazing and dynamic example of exactly those things which this trip is meant to convey. – Thank you, Paul and Mami San!
John Cunha
Carpenter Supervisor
San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks
San Francisco, CA, USA

An amazing experience that immersed me in the culture of Japan, its people as well as a wide range of businesses. These visits give great insight into TPS and lean and are fantastic for visual learners. An incredible experience with the amazing Paul & Mami san. Would recommend to anyone interested in LEAN and wanting to improve their business and life.
Jono Craven
Houston Farms
Cambridge, Tasmania, Australia

The second time was just as impactful as the first. The learning to be had is infinite. The learning from Paul, Japanese culture, coworkers and tour companions created so many impactful moments and thoughts. I’ll be back.
Eric Pope
VP of Operations
US Synthetic
Orem, Utah, USA

Fantastic, inspiring experience overall! My favorite was really seeing the variety and contrasts of approaches to seeing the application of the same principles. I loved the reflections on the bus and hearing everyone’s takeaways. At the very top was Daihatsu and Lexus and seeing high quality at opposite ends of the price range. Very different from the low cost means cheap from an American perspective. The cultural details that were consistently demonstrated and pointed out throughout every day, mottainai and omote Nashi, kept my mind focused and aware long enough to make a lasting difference. My brain can’t possibly shrink all the way back. The addition of Ken Mogi was a wonderful surprise but only because it was couched in an overall amazing week. Really, if I were to remove anything other than the TOTO tour, it would diminish the overall experience. It was a particularly meaningful life experience. Thank you for this gift! I promise to repay it by making a bigger difference in the lives of those I have an opportunity to influence for good.
Rob Galloway
US Synthetic
Orem, UT, USA

A perfectly choreographed dance through a lean journey.
Alex Parker
Liquid Coatings Manager
Powder Coatings of Utah
Syracuse, UT

Once again Paul Akers delivers a Michelin 3 star experience which means it was exceptional and worth a special journey as it can be life changing if you are looking to change and discover what it takes to create a culture that is continually progressing, because therein lies joy.
Wade Holbrook
Process Engineer
International PaperBox
Salt Lake City, UT

Super high quality, high value trip. It was four packed days of activity the helped me to see lean, live lean and think lean. Challenging at times, consistently brilliant and absolutely wire to wire with consent. The fact that Paul doesn’t charge more for this is a testament to his dedication to teaching and sharing these concepts.
Eric Gilbert
Anova Furnishings
St. Louis, MO

The Japan study mission is amazing! What a great opportunity to see how the Japanese culture has influenced the world of manufacturing. Any person with an interest in further understanding the Toyota Production System should make a Japan trip. I am so greatful for Paul and Mami-san’s preparation and wide variety of experiences they put together. Non stop learning for 4 days straight!!!!
Troy Campbell
Production Manager
US Synthetic
Saratoga Springs, Utah

I have been on Japan study trips. I expected this trip to be similar but it wasn’t. This trip was well thought out and gave me a better understanding of the Japanese culture and way of thinking. This trip helped me understand the TPS better and how to apply it.
Jair Gonzalez
General Manager
US Synthetic
Provo, Utah

Highly recommended, a ton to take in. Impossible not to walk away impressed and inspired.
Ken Kunz
Anova Furnishings
St. Louis, MO

I have traveled all over the world and lived in foreign countries. I also have run my own business for the past 15 years. In just 3 days Paul Akers gave me and my team one of the most educational and informative experiences that I could have ever imagined. I came away from our study mission with a sense of energy and determination that came from a deep dive into an understanding of the culture of lean. There were so many opportunities to see ideas and implementation of those ideas in real time that I came away from the experience with a sense that I want all of this to be a part of my life. Finally, I saw how lean can impact me, my wife, my children and my business in a way that can bring great benefits…amazing benefits to everything. Life changing to be in this group for these few days. Thank you Paul Akers for bringing so much of your knowledge, wisdom and energy to our lives.
Chris Hotze
CEO and Founder
Crescere Capital
Houston, TX

This experience has been as impactful. To me as the first time I saw a world-class lean manufacturer 15 years ago. That first visit inspired me to completely change everything about my life and led to 15 years of study and experimentation. This study tour will do the same for the next 15 years of my life.
Eric Pope
VP of Operations
US Synthetic
Orem, Utah

My humble take away is Just get started and lead by example.
Jim Ertler
Managing Director
Premium Fresh Tasmania
Forth, Tasmania, Austraila

The Japan study mission is a life changing experience. The intensity and passion Paul shares is contagious, not to mention the access to places you will not have on a trip to Japan. Seeing up close and personal in the schools, manufacturing facilities and Toyota plant will change your perspective on lean as a way a life. The only way of life! Mattonai !!(did I spell it correctly?! Got too excited thinking on how the United States of America must make changes and now hopeful we can with people like Paul sharing the wisdom!)
Ashley Hotze
Chief Operating Officer
Crescere Capital
Houston, TX

Paul’s tour gives you the opportunity to see and feel Lean front and centre an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to improve their lives and eliminate waste by implementing lean principles.
Michael Mullarvey
National Processing Manager
Houstons Farm
Cambridge, Tasmania, Austraila

One week with Paul Akers guiding you through lean thinking Japanese style is equivalent to years of book study on lean. Paul turns the complexities and intricacies of lean into the simplicity and elegance it is meant to be. It starts at the work with the people doing the work. Paul takes you right to the gemba… to watch and learn first hand, to experience the respect, quality, humility and grace of work performed in a lean culture by people who value people, quality, and work done with a spirit of joy and precision.
Perry Thompson
Lean Executive Director
Parsons Electric
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Japan Study Mission provides a full immersion into the culture of Japan – you have to see it to believe it. The trip fits in a lot and they are very diverse experiences from production plants to schools. The experience could be overwhelming, however Paul has condensed his 17 years of learnings into a simple format to learn and apply to your life and business immediately. Coming together with like-minded individuals from around the world as a part of a small team is also very powerful during the trip and as an ongoing support network. This is a very unique experience not to be missed!
Jemma Irwin
Marketing Manager & Process Engineering
Seating Matters
Ballymoney, Antrim, UK

Paul’s lean study mission, for those who want to learn and improve and to be in position to help others, is a fantastic opportunity to hear from successful leaders and implementers of lean principles and to personally witness major manufacturing and operational examples of lean and quality in place.
Charles Scarafiotti
Risk Manager
Nekon Pty Ltd
Sandy Bay, Tasmania, Austraila

I have visited Japan twice on Paul Akers “Banish Slopiness” tours and they both have been amazing experiences. If you are looking to take your people and your business to the next level, don’t hesitate, its worth every penny! The presenters are all top professionals and the site and company visits give you the chance to see what lean can really be. You’ll leave Japan saying to yourself “I want that”.
Tim Walker
Derrek Holland
The Closet Doctor
Lincoln, CA

Paul and Mami really know how to pack in a lot of exciting tours and great information in 3 days! What an amazing experience!
Tim Walker
Lisa Holland
The Closet Doctor
Lincoln, CA

As Paul says big ears, big eyes, and watch ever minutes of your time on the details. Steve and I did go to Tokyo and we would walk 13 miles a day or so for 3 days. We were pointing lean ideas out all over the city. Things I have never seen in the US. Japanese take pride in their country, in both cities, no trash anywhere, very courteous.
Tim Walker
Hardware Sales
Bellingham, WA

The Japan study mission is for people who are serious about lean. It is immersive and intense in the best way possible. The trip shows you how a cultural shift at a deep level can provide you with the tools for a successful business, career, or life. There are so many eye opening and positive experiences on this trip that shows the profound wisdom in Japanese culture. My life will never be the same!!!
Thomas Emmett
Process Engineer
Ferndale, WA

Stop waiting and making excuses and get to Japan. It will change your life. I had spoke to several people beforehand that had been on the trip and anticipated an awesome experience. What I have been apart of this week will not only change my life moving forward but also all those I encounter from here on out. Thanks so much to Paul, his team that made it all happen and to the team I was a part of.
Dustin Hunter
Hunter Trim & Cabinets Inc.
Fort Worth, TX

Life-changing experience. It will alter how you see your life and your work!
Alex Danishevsky
Mechanical Engineer
Inova LLC
Guilderland Center, NY

If you are looking for the most amazing business learning experience, the Japan Study Group is a must. Three days completely change my vision on how to identify waste and deficiencies in our company. This is an experience like no other. It’s not what you will see, but how Paul will help you see it. Paul did an amazing job at demonstrating how really simple lean is. The Japan experience is great, however the Japan experience with an amazing leader is off the charts.
Rick Egelin
Chief Executive Officer
Fireblast Global
Corona, CA

The study tour to Japan with Paul is truly transformative. You will recalibrate your thinking and never look at your company, your country or yourself the same way again. Jam packed, each and every minute, with value added tours, ideas and information. And, the new friends I made on the tour and the learning we shared with each other was fantastic. Also, a note to Paul. I hate to say this because I may want to go back to Japan on another tour with you some day, but I looked at some other groups that make Lean study trips to Japan and their prices are much higher. You definitely provide a great value for the cost. You could raise the price you charge and still give a great value. If you do raise your price, I want a discount on my next tour with you! Ha!
Best Regards,
Ashley Smith
Smith-Midland Corporation

If you don’t go, you won’t know! The Japan Study Mission was truly an experience of a lifetime. It defines Going to the Gemba in a capacity that can only be understood by using your big eyes and big ears. This trip is not for the dabblers, it’s for the bravest, thirsty few. Keeping up with Paul and his passion for showing lean will keep you on your toes! Grateful and appreciative of my Lean learning experience from the man himself!
Joelle Washburn
Office Manager
Walters & Wolf
Las Vegas, NV
Aspiring Lean Zealot

To put into words of what the study mission to Japan with Paul has meant for me. I went to Japan with the intention to learn my next evaluation in the lean process but I got so much more from the experience. The understanding of why the Japanese follow lean and also on so many levels. The experience can’t be gained from a book or a seminar it is truly life changing. You will definitely come away totally exhausted, eager to go home and get started, full of questions and answers but for me I came home with validation and a sense friendship.
Kelly Elphinstone
Elphinstone Pty Ltd
Tasmania, Australia

The Japan Lean Study Mission tour was amazing and incredibly rich with learnings that I would not have gotten elsewhere. It totally exceeded my expectations since every second of the tour we learnt something either directly from Paul, an invited speaker, a plant tour, eating out or even just driving and walking around Japan to see how seemingly Japan’s society operates and integrates. Seeing how much attention to quality (details) is given and the amount of respect is planted into each human being in Japan, almost since they were born, just totally transformed my mind and views about Lean. On this tour I truly learnt what Lean really is about and received new inspirations and ambitions to transform other people around me. I can’t say how thankful I am to just being able to spend time with an amazing and humble person like Paul and learn everything I can from him related to lean and health.
Alex Boxhorn
Loewen Windows
Winnipeg, Canada

Paul, I wanted to thank you for this amazing, incredible “Lean Tour” (not “Tour about Lean”!). Mamie and you did a fantastic job for putting everything together. The all tour was seamless, intense, very educative, mind blowing…..The group was great (everybody humble), everyone could share their challenges, experiences and eventually helping each other. Everywhere we went to, there was something to take. During this trip I collected so much information and have seen so many different processes.I can tell you, I came back to the U.S with a different way to look at what is around me. Of course, I will spend my energy on focusing to improve Snapcab. As you know, we already have a great leadership with Glenn, Joe, Caleb and everybody around. But it is still a daily challenge for continuous improvement and creativity. With all the visits and your teaching, I have a lot more tools to work with. Also, you inspired me to make changes (kaizen) in my community, school, neighborhood …(I already started with my wife and my 2 girls). Many times during the tour you said “Japan is all about QUALITY”, I agree. But I also believe, to get to their level of quality (of life and products), we have to start by respecting each other better, respected the environment better, respected the material better….
Thanks again Paul for mentored (mentoring) this “life changing tour”

My experience on the Japan Study Mission with Paul Akers was mind blowing. It raised my level of awareness of Lean to a whole new level. I would strongly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to take their business to the next level. I came back with lots of practical tips that I was able to implement very quickly and we have already seen dramatic results.
Ryan Tierney
Seating Matters Ltd.

Amazing experience! The opportunity to visit Japan with Paul was so much more than what I was expecting. A great opportunity to see Lean at its finest and experience the culture that makes it all possible, this tour gave me a whole new outlook on what is possible. A true life changing experience.
Derrek Holland
The Closet Doctor

This is no thematic tour about Lean. It is a LEAN Tour. Every single second of it. Get ready to experience Lean far beyond manufacturing and embark in a journey that will change your life.
Filipe Marques

This was by far the best lean (study group) tour or any tour for that matter that I have ever been on! It was not only educational but through actual live examples and constant dialog, it challenged ideas and beliefs that I have grown comfortable with stimulating me to change my opinion and understanding of many lean concepts. Awesome, well organized and fast paced trip. The content throughout the experience was of the highest caliber and the first hand explanation by actual high level Lean implementers made it credible and valuable! No BS here, all “rubber meets the road” and solid practice. I loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone serious about improving their organization and life as well!
Vernon Nash
Fireblast Global

My lean trip to Japan was life changing.
It has shown me how to better myself as a father, Husband and as a business man.
Through my experience I now will view people and situations differently in order to make the world a better place.
Marco Nikitaras
Hill Street Grocer

Paul’s trip is an educational powerhouse of learning experience that will pay dividends the rest of my life. It opened my eyes to opportunities within my business that were right under my nose the whole time I just had to view them through a different vision.
Ty McClellan
Hardware Sales Inc.

It is pretty simple. I think it was the best money I’ve ever spent on our business. And I’ve got a million dollars of equipment, so it isn’t like I haven’t invested in our business. I think that trip will be paying itself forward for years.
Ted Pancoast
Ted Pancoast Woodworking

The opportunity to learn from Paul Akers is it itself life changing add to this 2 Toyota master instructors and visiting Toyota and Toyota tier 2 suppliers and the whole experience becomes invaluable, an absolute must do experience.
Wade Holbrook
International PaperBox

Simply put, these three days with Paul in Japan, visiting world class companies, learning from lean masters and gleaning insight from Paul along the way, has transformed my thinking. I, and our company will never be the same.
Norm O’Hara
Goba Sports Group/Dongguan Shenshui Fitness Equipment

Whilst our (Hill Street Grocer) is still in the infant stages of our lean journey, the Japan Study Mission afforded us the chance to really absorb ourselves. Paul has been(and still is) very inspiring. The opportunities and experiences had are second to none. I can’t recommend this tour enough. You will never look at another process without attempting to make it more Lean.
Elizabeth Arnold
Hill Street Grocer

I’ve been following Paul Akers for 10 years, but had never previously met him in person. What I experienced during this trip validated my intuition. Paul is a true lean leader with an unquenching thirst for learning, improving, and sharing. This experience was worth every penny! I plan to send team members, executives, and family members.
Tony Coleman
Trinchero Family Estates Winery