The Objectives of CPS

The objectives of Canon Production System (CPS) are to manufacture better quality products at lower cost and deliver them faster. Reflecting rigorous organization (5Ss, Kaizen, Suggestion System, etc.), the CPS aims at bringing about constant improvements in performance and has provided the spring-board for Canon.


5Ss at Canon

Canon's Suggestion System

Canon Creates a New Market Niche

Kaizen Implementation






"The involvement of work people in Japan has lead mainly to process improvement
rather than to product improvement."
~ Prof. Sasaki

Three Basic Structures of CPS

  1. Quality Assurance (QA)

  2. Production Assurance (PA)

  3. Personnel Training (PT)

Areas Targeted by TQM in Japan



Benefits of 9-part Classification of Wastes

  • Helps employees become problem-conscious

  • Helps them move from operational improvement to systems improvement, and

  • Helps employees recognize the need for self-development.

Problem Solving Strategies: 4 Levels


Waste Categories and 9 Wastes To Be Eliminated


Stocking items not immediately needed.

6 Guidelines of Canon's Suggestion System

A Model Workshop

Lean Enterprise: Kore 10 Tips

Canon, a Model Workshop means a workshop where:

  • Performance is continually improving

  • Manpower development efforts are continually made

  • There is always Kaizen for reducing wastes.

  • Individual roles and goals are clearly defined

  • The agreed-upon rules are strictly obeyed

  • What is going on in the workshop is readily visible and understandable


Five Ss at Canon

The "5S" refers to five Japanese principles for workplace management to increase efficiency.

  • Seiri (Sort): eliminate unnecessary items from the workplace. Keep the strict minimum.

Kaizen Culture: 8 Key Elements

Implementing Kaizen: 7 Conditions

The Three Basic Structures of CPS

Quality Assurance (QA) System. Canon tries to ensure the best quality in all stages of development, production, and delivery to gain worldwide respect for their products.

Production Assurance (PA) System. PA is aimed to achieve just-in-time manufacturing, fast delivery, low cost, and also adopt the "visual control" philosophy. Canon has devised two subsystems to attain these PA goals: Canon's HIT System (equivalent to just-in-time) and Signal System. The HIT System means making parts and products only when needed and only in the quantity needed. Canon uses either HIT cards or signals for this purpose.

Personnel Training (PS) System. Under this system, Canon's employees are continually educated through a life-long education program.

The other critical instruments for realizing CPS objectives are the "four investments" (technologies, human resources, facilities, and welfare) and "elimination of 9 wastes."

CPS Notebook

Each Canon employee receives a 55-page pocket-size CPS Notebook that explains the CPS, how to get Kaizen targets, and the award system. These CPS Notebooks also have special pages entitled "My Self-Development Goals Method, Tools, and Investment" to be filled in by the worker. 

Human Resources Development

At Canon, it is the supervisor's responsibility to attempt to give each employee the widest possible range of skills. This is achieved both by formal training and through job rotation.

Managers attach considerable importance to the direct involvement of employees in process design, process improvement, and the achievement of smooth harmonious production.

In each working area, matrix charts are displayed. The vertical axis lists the names of all operators in the department and the horizontal axis is divided into columns, each describing a specific skill or task. The boxes in the chart are shaded against each employee to show at a glance the skills each has acquired.


Award System

Canon employees are offering around 50 improvement ideas per year per employee.

Continuous Improvement Firm

Kaizen Mindset

Radical Improvement (Kaikaku): Kore 10 Tips

Canon provides awards for individuals, small groups and workshop units.

These awards are intended to show management's appreciation for the efforts and the results.

A unique feature of Canon's suggestion system is the lifetime cumulative award system. Each suggestion is given a certain number of points, and every year President's Awards are given to the 20 people who have accumulated the most points since the system's inception. Each recipient receives a certain amount of money and a gold medal.

Since this can get a bit repetitious, there are also Presidential Awards for the most points in a given year, the top 30 people receiving a smaller amount of money and silver medals. The list of Annual Awards provided at Canon includes: Model Workshop Award, Runner-up Model Workshop Award, Award for Eliminating 9 Wastes, CPS Performance Award, Excellent Small-Group Activities Award, Cumulative-Point Presidential Award, Annual-Points Presidential Award, Special Presidential Award.

Canon gives also Gold, Silver, and Special awards to their suppliers that have built promising systems for Quality, Cost, and Delivery.



The Toyota Way: 14 Principles      Toyota Production System