Within a lean context, Gemba simply refers to the location where value is created, while Kaizen relates to improvements. However, the concept of Gemba Kaizen holds many more meanings than its literal translation. According to the Kaizen Institute, an organisation which has embraced the concept is constantly striving to improve its processes, promotes discipline and standardisation, and believes the processes in place for solving problems are more valuable than the solutions themselves. Are You A Thought Leader? Download our latest media kit to learn more about our community, our products and how you can get involved. Download now.

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Along the way, he provides case studies on 5S, 5M, JIT, the elimination of waste, variation, and overburden, and Total Flow management.

Roughly translated, Gemba means real place. The Gemba can be thought of as ground zero. It is not just the shop floor, it is the scene of the crime, it is being on location, or when considering Kaizen, it is the place where value is added.

For the most part, western management is aware that sustained continuous improvement must involve every employee and that top management must demonstrate their support for such programs, but the true value of the Gemba is often missed.

Imai advocates a paradigm shift such that engineers and managers are part of the Gemba. Imai emphasizes is that Kaizen projects must improve Quality, Cost, and Delivery simultaneously. These can no longer be taken as independent with any one being sacrificed to improve another if companies are to remain competitive. QCD activities therefore must bridge such functions as research and development, engineering, production, sales, and after-sales service.

The diagram below from Toyota Machine Works Quality assurance system shows the interactions of such departments in delivering QCD objectives. Management activities in achieving QCD goals can be categorized as either maintaining or improving current standards. Maintenance activities are required when rejects from internal customers or returns from dissatisfied external customers occurEither situation can usually be traced to issues arising in the Gemba.

When seeking to improve the current standards, the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is used. Both adaptations along with relevant case studies are fully explained by Imai.

In fulfilling both maintenance, and improvement activities, managers of all levels will find Mr. Imai also takes a detailed look at the elimination of Muda waste , Mura variation , and Muri Overburden. These 5Ms along with environmental causes are most often associated with the Ishikawa cause and effect diagram when performing standard maintenance activities in search of root causes of defects.

The two day Kaizen blitz to achieve one piece flow has proven to be extremely popular since its inception in by Nissan Motor Company and is well documented with numerous case study examples for all engineers and managers to profit from.

In completing the story of Kaizen, Mr. Imai has successfully brought it out of the training room and back to its roots in the Gemba. This review was written by Bob Simmons. He holds degrees in Mechanical and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.


Masaaki Imai on Gemba Kaizen and Lean

In , he founded Cambridge Corp. As a consultant, he assisted more than foreign and joint-venture companies in Japan in fields including recruiting, executive development, personnel management and organizational studies. In , Imai established the Kaizen Institute to help Western companies introduce kaizen concepts, systems and tools. This best-selling book has since been translated into 14 languages.


Masaaki Imai

Start free Blinkist trial Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now Synopsis Gemba Kaizen is an introduction to the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen, which revolutionizes working standards to reduce waste and increase efficiency at little cost. Author Masaaki Imai reveals the aspects of Kaizen that are crucial to building lean business strategies. Key idea 1 of 8 Gemba Kaizen is a low-cost strategy that increases productivity by involving employees to help eliminate nonessential steps. So, you want your company to become more productive. The Gemba Kaizen strategy guides you to greater productivity through elimination. When we analyze working processes, we often find several elements that consume time and energy without contributing anything to the end product. These wasteful elements are called muda.

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