About 20 Keys

International Partner Network

The 20 Keys International Partner Network, with its head office at PDI, in Tokyo Japan, is a globally represented operations improvement consulting company.

The mission of the 20 Keys network of partners is to promote and implement best practices for sustainable operations improvement. This is done by onsite training, coaching and implementation support as well as e-Learning and e-Consulting services. Consultants have extensive experience, in a wide range of industries, covering production, manufacturing, mining and service organisations.

We also have annual study tours (to a different country each year), during which best practice companies are visited. In addition workshops and conferences are held where case studies are presented.

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Our Network Partners have extensive experience, acquired in the workplace over many years with implementing 20 Keys, in a wide range of industries - manufacturing, production, mining and service industries.

PPORF Development Institute Inc. Tokyo, Japan


Dr Yoshi Kobayashi President


Business Excellence LTD Moscow, Russia


Yuri Nikolayevich Samoylov Director


Next Consult Ltd Sofia, Bulgaria


Toshko Petkov Partner


ODI (Pty) Ltd Pretoria, South Africa


Johan Benadie Director


Symbios Consulting Cairo, Egypt


Shereen Amin Mosallam General Manager


Leadership Services Germany


Robert Hierl CEO


Gemba PMS East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda)

Surya Prakesh Pareek

Surya Prakash Pareek CEO


History of 20 Keys Continues Operations Improvement

The 20 Keys system was developed in Japan by Iwao Kobayashi when he, after completing industrial studies at university, joined Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

  • 1981 In 1981 Iwao formed the PPORF Development Institute (PDI) in Japan, for promoting and implementing the 20 Keys (called A Practical Programme of Revolution in Factories and other organisations in Japan). Successful implementations in a large number of prominent Japanese companies followed.
  • 1993 In 1993, Organisation Development International (ODI) based in South Africa, went into partnership with PDI, with the aim of introducing the system to South African organisations, and also to help spread it across the world.
  • An international network of partners was soon developed, with successful implementations in a large number of companies, in various industries.
  • Dr. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi later took over form his father as President of PDI. He is continuing the passion and dedication of Iwao for assisting organisations to continuously improve their operations.

Soon after joining them, he developed the first mixed-lot automated assembly line in Japan (and arguably in the world). At that time Iwao was also known as the expert in Japan on quick changeover technology.

By practical implementation, in the workplace, and with involving people, he developed the 20 Keys system and later authored a book on productivity improvement, “20 Keys to Workplace Improvement”, describing the timeless principles underlying sustainable operations improvement.

The 20 Keys is a practical and proven system for sustainable continuous operations improvement, in different industries and different cultures.

As a network, we stay true to its original aim; to support organisations to bring about a revolution with productivity of people, processes, and technology, by effectively engaging all their people.

The focus is on the transfer of knowledge through training, and the enhancement of knowledge application through coaching and implementation support in the workplace.

20 Keys to Workplace Improvement

A book review concludes by saying that:

"The 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement System brings together twenty of the world’s top manufacturing improvement approaches and integrates them into a system for revolutionizing your organization".

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Some organisations implementing the 20 Keys System

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