By Bayo Ogunmupe The Lagos Office of the National Productivity Centre hosted the public to a seminar on the application of the Japanese Kaizen concept of productivity improvement. The seminar was held at Eko Hotel recently. In his opening address, the deputy director, technical cooperation, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment of Japan, Yuji Nakayama said his government is satisfied with the implementation of several projects in Africa. He said the projects have enhanced the living standards of the people in infrastructure promotion, better hygiene and health and the development of human resources by means of Business Education Initiative for the Youth. Mr Nakayama declared that Japan planned to develop 30,000 people and improve 30 percent of the productivity in African factories with the Japanese Kaizen concept of productivity. Japan is supporting sub Saharan Africa in productivity improvement through Japan Productivity Centre. On Nigeria's side, the Lagos Office coordinator of the National Productivity Centre (NPC), Mrs Patricia Nwaozuzu, in a release, announced the mandate of NPC as stimulating productivity consciousness, determining productivity levels, monitoring productivity and promoting it in all sectors of the Nigerian economy. Also, NPC promotes cooperation with similar organizations such as the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, Asian Productivity Organization, Pan African Productivity Association (PAPA), Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment and the Japan Productivity Centre. The seminar was the offshoot of NPC's membership of PAPA through the collaboration with Japan who is assisting in developing the Kaizen concept of productivity in Nigeria. The teaching of kaizen is currently running in Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Namibia and the African Union. The aim of NPC intervention programme is to develop the productivity mindset in Nigerians; to promote human resource development and to build a knowledge based society. Through networking and partnering with other productivity institutions, NPC has organized awareness campaigns, produced jingles in five languages namely, English, Pidgin English, Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba. Consequently, kaizen productivity and quality improvement were installed at First Forty Hotels, Abuja; Niyya Foods Limited, Kaduna and Afrotec Industries, Laqgos. From 2009 to date, 32 private companies have benefited from the programme, resulting in 480 productivity champions, serving in 32 Quality Circles around the country. Then, NPC formulated the rationale and the objectives for determining productivity indices. At present, there is no nationally coordinated productivity measurement system in Nigeria. Also, there is no provision for productivity statistics as the basic input for meaningful national productivity measurements. In capacity building through training courses, workshops and seminars, the Japanese kaizen productivity concept was discovered. The five components of kaizen are: good house keeping; the kaizen suggestion scheme, innovative creative circles, total quality management, total production maintenance and timeliness. This seminar showcased three companies. One each from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The company from Ghana was on marketing; that from Burkina Faso was manufacturing cement and the last was Jumac International Company from Lagos, Nigeria. Led by Chief James Uzuh, Jumac like other companies improved both productivity and quality from 20 percent to 80 percent. Jumac which manufactures suitcases was so successful in quality the Nigeria Customs often impound its products as imported good goods. Jumac won the NPC Best Private Company award in 2016. It missed National Productivity Order of Merit award because it did not apply in 2016. Jumac had increased its productivity, efficiency and quality through the application of the Japanese kaizen productivity concept.