Cultivating a culture of continual improvement

Nippon Gohsei Logo

With their business deeply rooted in the needs of their customers, Nippon Gohsei embarked on the Lean Six Sigma journey, slowly changing their culture to achieve extraordinary results.


Initially founded on manufacturing technology for synthetic acetic acid resins, Nippon Gohsei has grown into a major chemical company today. They are constantly expanding the range of high value-added products for a better society and strive to be on the front line when it comes to delivering new value and innovative solutions to their customers.

The problem

To keep up with the demands of modern times, Nippon Gohsei wanted to improve their productivity by using business improvement tools and techniques. They realised that by investing in and developing their internal customers – their staff – they could bring better value to external customers too. One of the areas for improvement they identified was internal structured problem solving. But when BSI approached them about the Lean Six Sigma approach, they were sceptical. As a Japanese company they were familiar with business improvement methodologies and understandably cautious to invest in training.

The solution

Through a step-by-step process of training, leading and coaching, Nippon Gohsei worked with BSI to implement Lean Six Sigma, a systematic approach to process improvement that focuses on the customer. By adopting Lean Six Sigma they were able to strengthen and embed the culture of continual improvement they wanted.

Andy Starkey from Nippon Gohsei UK explains: “Once the decision had been made to embark on a business improvement programme, we took advice from a number of companies who had experience of implementing the Lean Six Sigma approach. The decision was made very carefully, making sure that we didn’t dive into something that was going to result in excess cost, be an improvement ‘whim’ and not prove a corporate priority. Having discussed our aims with BSI, we found them very honest in what we needed to do as a business and we have taken time to slowly embed a cultural change which is now reaping rewards.”

The results

The benefits of their new approach were immediate.  With qualified members of staff sharing a common understanding of improvement tools, they were able to apply them to the overall business – ranging from everyday problem solving to critical projects, like improving operational management systems. As a direct result of the learning, there has been a positive effect on the company’s bottom line.