WCM (World Class Manufacturing) - March 2024

Submitted by ECCP Team on 19 September 2023

WCM 1600x900
  • Discover Japan's approach to World-Class Manufacturing
  • Learn how Japanese firms achieve superior production standards
  • Focus on the latest trends by visiting the top manufacturing plants in Japan
  • Visit the real "GEMBA" (i.e. production site in Japan)
  • Meet senior Japanese industry leaders

Date: 11 March 2024 - 15 March 2024

Apply here!

Deadline to apply: October 12

Since the first edition in 1992, more than 900 participants from across all EU Member states have participated in this practical training course.

The 5-day World Class Manufacturing training mission provides an in-depth analysis of Japanese manufacturing methodology and is aimed exclusively at EU managers with knowledge of WCM and an engineering background.

It assists the participants to acquire a better understanding of TQC (Total Quality Control), TQM (Total Quality Management), TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), JIT (Just In Time), TIE (Total Industrial Engineering) practices and the current KAIZEN manufacturing methods (continuous improvement).

The training course consists of lectures, workshops and visits to some of the world’s most advanced Japanese factories in order to understand the real "Gemba" (production site), talk directly with their production managers and observe the effective implementation of manufacturing methods. This course will give its participants a detailed understanding of current Japanese approaches that they can adapt to help their companies lean journeys. 

The EU-Japan Centre's lean advisor, Prof. Richard Keegan 

Richard is a specialist in the fields of World Class Business and Benchmarking and has focused on adapting these concepts for SMEs, working closely with a large number of SMEs helping them to implement improvement actions. Since taking part in the WCM course himself over 20 years ago he has worked with the Centre to realign the Centre lean activities them up to date to better meet the needs of large and small companies. An author of several books on the topics and previously Manager of the Competitiveness Department of Enterprise Ireland, he led the DG Enterprise & Industry Benchmarking Initiative and the European Benchmarking Forum and Network for the European Commission.


Ideal participants have an important strategic role in shaping the company's best practice strategy or can influence the company's management of quality control / best practice / production systems as a full-time worker (e.g. Director, Manager, Operation & Logistics, Plant Manager, Quality Manager or Managing Director etc).


Candidates who already participated in the WCM mission (physically) are ineligible. 

The candidate must:

- work for an organization that is a juridical person based in

  • the European Union, or
  • a country associated to the Single Market Programme, SME Pillar(*)

- be supported by his/her employer through a signed letter - be able to participate in the entire programme - have a good command of English (recommended level B2 or higher) - be an employee/team leader involved in engineering methods or production/service strategy or production control or with experience in operations management - have knowledge and practice of production methods of excellence.

(*Please check the status of your country at https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/smp/guidance/list-3rd-country-participation_smp_en.pdf, for EFTA countries, please only refer to the sub-paragraph: "COSME strand (SMP COSME)". For EU Acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, please only refer to the countries for which the agreement is in force.

SMP-COSME: Stands for “Countries Participating in the COSME strand of the Single Market Programme". The Single Market Programme is the Commission programme that funds the EU-Japan Centre.


In order to ensure a high degree of personal attention, the number of participants in this mission is limited.

The main criteria for selection are:

  • the professional & educational background of the candidate.
  • the strategy of the participant's company regarding WCM methodologies implementation.

The sector of activity is unimportant however applicants from consulting sector will have a lower priority in the selection.

In order to ensure a high degree of personal attention, the number of selected participants in this mission is limited.


Study block I: lectures, seminars & panel discussions, presented by experts from Japanese industry covering subjects such as:

- Lead-Time Reduction through Streamlined Flows of Information and Products - Policy Deployment, HR Management and Best Practice for Staff Motivation - Continuous Improvement of Customer Service Supported by WCM - Lean Thinking and WCM Approach in Japan - TQC, TQM, TPM, JIT and TIE - Attractive Quality Creation - Levelled Production System - Variable-Product Variable -Quantity Production to meet Demand Fluctuation - Synchronized Production System (from order to delivery) - Flexible Manufacturing Implemented by QCD - Improvement of Overall Manufacturing Capability.

Study block II: visits to companies - preparation for company visits and post-visit reviews.

The sectors of activity of the companies to be visited include, among others: - Chemical products and plastics - Machinery - Steel products - Automobile industry


The EU-Japan Centre covers all costs directly related to the WCM mission which includes:

  • (Shop-floor) visits to some of the world’s most advanced factories in Japan 
  • The venue for the workshops and group discussions
  • Bus transportation from a site to another

Participants will have to cover their travel and accommodation costs. Before the start of the mission, participants must pay a deposit of €1000 to guarantee the place on the mission. This deposit will be refunded to SME(**) participants.

Failure to transfer the deposit by the deadline set by the Centre may result in the offer of the place being withdrawn. The deposit will be refunded within two weeks following the completion of the mission.

On top of this refunding, SME participants will also benefit from a €600 grant. The grant will be paid within 2 weeks after the mission. However, absences during the mission may lead to deductions amounting to 120 EUR/day.

(**) SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are companies meeting the standard European Commission criteria for an SME which have applied successfully for a grant. Other companies are large companies or SMEs that fail to apply successfully for a grant.

Cluster organisation
Share this Article