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Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense Approach to a Continuous Improvement Strategy 2/E [ebook] by Masaaki Imai (epub/mobi). ebook4expert. Praise for Gemba Kaizen It's exciting to see an updated version of a classic book, Gemba Kaizen, which shares a wealth of new healthcare examples and case. Read ebook Ebook download Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense Approach to a Continuous Improvement Strategy, Second Edition For Android.

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Once upon a time, the gemba was a place that good managers avoided. Being assigned a position at or close to the gemba amounted to a career dead end. Today, in contrast, the presidents of some better-known Japanese companies have rich backgrounds in gemba areas. They possess a good understanding of what goes on in the gemba and provide support accordingly.

The two opposite views of the gemba—as sitting on top of the manage- ment structure inverted triangle and as sitting at the bottom of the management structure normal triangle —are equally valid in terms of gemba-management relations. Thus the thrust for improvement should be both bottom-up and top-down.

In Figure 2. It takes the initiative in establishing policies, targets, and priorities and in allocating resources such as manpower and money. In this model, management must exercise leadership and determine the kind of kaizen most urgently needed. This process of achieving corporate objectives is called policy deployment.

Because of their attachment to the gemba- management relationship as shown in the regular triangle Figure 2. However, by looking at the inverted triangle Figure 2. Gemba becomes the source for achieving commonsense, low-cost improvements. The respective roles of management and gemba in these two models never should be confused. People within a company can be divided into two groups: Only those frontline people who develop, produce, and sell products are earning money for the company.

The ideal company would have only one person who does not earn money—the president—leaving the rest of the employees directly involved in revenue-generating activity.

No matter how hard these people may work, they do not directly earn money for the company. For this reason, they might be better referred to as dependents. The trouble is that non—money earners often think that they know better and are better qualified than money earners because they are better educated. They often make the job of the latter more difficult. The shortcoming of this system is the separation between those who pass down directives and those who carry them out.

The new approach should be what we might call a gemba- centered approach, where gemba is accountable not only for production but also for quality and cost and personnel assist from the sidelines.

The following are the conditions for successful implementation of a gemba- centered approach: Also, management should assist the gemba in achieving the target. The benefits of a gemba-centered approach are many. The House of Gemba Two major activities take place in the gemba on a daily basis as regards resource management—namely, maintenance and kaizen.

The former relates to following existing standards and maintaining the status quo, and the latter relates to improving such standards. Gemba managers engage in one or the other of these two functions, and quality, cost, and delivery QCD are the outcome. A company that produces quality products or services at a reasonable price and delivers them on time satisfies its customers, and they, in turn, remain loyal.

For a more detailed explanation of QCD, see Chapter 3. Standardization In order to realize QCD, the company must manage various resources properly on a daily basis. These resources include personnel, information, equipment, and materials. Efficient daily management of resources requires standards. Every time problems or irregularities arise, the manager must investigate, identify the root cause, and revise the existing standards or implement new ones to prevent recurrence.

Standards become an integral part of gemba kaizen and provide the basis for daily improvement. These three activities are indispensable in building lean, efficient, and successful QCD. Standardization, muda elimination, and 5S are easy to understand and implement and do not require sophisticated knowledge or technology.

Anybody—any manager, any supervisor, or any employee—can readily introduce these commonsense, low-cost activities. The difficult part is building the self-discipline necessary to maintain them. Such a translating process does not require technology or sophistication. It does require a clear plan from management deployed in logical phases.

For details of standards, refer to Chapter 4. Today, practicing 5S has become almost a must for any company engaged in manufacturing. An observant gemba management expert can determine the caliber of a company in five minutes by visiting the plant and taking a good look at what goes on there, especially in regard to muda elimination and 5S.

A lack of 5S in the gemba should be considered a visual indicator of inefficiency, muda, insufficient self- discipline, low morale, poor quality, high costs, and an inability to meet delivery terms. Suppliers not practicing 5S will not be taken seriously by prospective customers. These five points of housekeeping represent a starting point for any company that seeks to be recognized as a responsible manufacturer eligible for world-class status.

The implications of 5S will be explained in detail in Chapter 5. Recently, before starting assembly operations in Europe, a Japanese automobile manufacturer sent purchasing managers to visit several prospective European suppliers. Next, the visitors would receive a tour of the gemba.

On arrival, the purchasing managers were shown into the conference room. However, they insisted on being taken to the gemba right away, skipping the conference agenda. Once at the plant, they stayed only a few minutes before preparing to leave.

Even worse, we saw some workers smoking while working on the line. If management allows these things to happen in the gemba, it cannot be serious enough about making components vital for automotive safety, and we do not want to deal with management that is not serious enough. A worker looking at an automatic machine while the machine processes a piece does not add any value.

The machine does the only value-adding work, no matter how attentively and affectionately the worker may look at it. When a maintenance engineer walks a long distance with a tool in his hand, he is not adding any value.


The value is added by using the tool to fix, maintain, or set up the machine. Customers do not pay for non-value-adding activities. Why, then, do so many people in the gemba engage in non-value-adding activities?

A manager of one factory once checked how far a worker walked in the gemba in the course of a year and found that the worker walked a distance of kilometers. Jogging for health should be done in the gym, not in the gemba! Ironically, some factories are equipped with gyms that have running tracks, but the workers spend more time jogging in the gemba during working hours than in the gym during off-hours.

After I had stood in line at the ticket counter for several minutes, my turn came, whereupon I was told that I had to go to another desk in another terminal to get the endorsement. I had to take a tram to the other terminal because the terminals at Dallas—Fort Worth are so far apart a big muda in kaizen terms! At the counter there, I waited in line again for several minutes. That was the moment of truth, as far as I was concerned. Any work that takes place in the gemba is actually a series of processes.

Assuming processes from receipt of raw materials and components until final assembly and shipment, the value-adding time at each process is just like that bang! Just think about how little time it takes to press a sheet of metal, shape a piece of work on a lathe, process a sheet of paper, or give a signature for approval.


These value-adding activities take only seconds. Even supposing that each process takes one minute, value-adding activity for processes should take no more than a total of minutes.

There is far too much muda between the value-adding moments. We should seek to realize a series of processes in which we can concentrate on each value-adding process. We should seek to realize a series of processes in which we can concentrate on each value.

We should seek to realize a series of processes in which we can concentrate on each value- adding process—Bang! Chapter 6 offers a more detailed explanation of muda. Muda elimination and good housekeeping often go hand in hand.

Introduction To Kaizen

Facilities where muda has been eliminated are orderly and show a high level of 5S discipline. Good housekeeping indicates good employee morale and self- discipline. Any company can achieve a high level of self-discipline among employees temporarily.

Sustaining that level, however, is a very challenging job. And the moment it disappears, its absence shows up in the form of a disorderly gemba.

Increased morale and self-discipline within the gemba require involvement, participation, and information sharing with employ- ees. Certain activities expedite the process of kaizen and maintain its momentum, eventually bringing change to the culture. These include teamwork, such as quality-circle and other small-group activities and employee suggestion schemes, in which workers remain continuously on the lookout for potential kaizen targets.

When gemba employees participate in kaizen activities and notice the dramatic changes that have taken place as a result, they grow much more enthusiastic and self-disciplined. Chapter 7 addresses employee empowerment, involvement, and participation.

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The Golden Rules of Gemba Management Most managers prefer their desk as their workplace and wish to distance themselves from the events taking place in the gemba. Most managers come into contact with reality only through their daily, weekly, or even monthly reports and meetings. Hence the five golden rules of gemba management: When a problem abnormality arises, go to the gemba first. Take temporary countermeasures on the spot. Find the root cause.

Standardize to prevent recurrence. Go to the Gemba First Management responsibilities include hiring and training workers, setting the standards for their work, and designing the product and processes.

Management sets the conditions in the gemba, and whatever happens there reflects on management. After developing the habit of going to the gemba, a manager will develop the confidence to use the habit to solve specific problems. On the first day, a supervisor who was assigned as his mentor took him to a corner of the plant, drew a small circle on the floor with chalk, and told him to stay within the circle all morning and keep his eyes on what was happening.

Thus Kristianto watched and watched. Half an hour and then an hour went by. As time passed, he became bored because he was simply watching routine and repetitive work. Does he want to show his power? What kind of training is this? There, Kristianto was asked to describe what he had observed. He realized that he had missed many vital points in his observations. The supervisor patiently explained to Kristianto the points he had failed to answer, using drawings and sketches on a sheet of paper so that he could describe the processes more clearly and accurately.

Slowly but steadily, it became clear to Kristianto: The gemba is the source of all information. Then his mentor said that to qualify as a Toyota worker, one must love the gemba and that every Toyota employee believes that the gemba is the most important place in the company. Even now, every time I see a problem, my mind immediately shouts out loud and clear: Go to the gemba first and have a look!

Taiichi Ohno is credited with having developed the Toyota Production System. When Ohno noticed a supervisor out of touch with the realities of the gemba, he would take the supervisor to the plant, draw a circle, and have the supervisor stand in it until he gained awareness. Ohno urged managers, too, to visit the gemba. You should come back with at least one idea for kaizen. To soften this opposition, Ohno urged accountants to go to the plant.

He told them to wear out two pairs of shoes per year just walking around the site observing how inventory, efficiency, quality, and so on were improved and how the improvements contributed to cost reductions that ultimately produced higher profits. In his later years, Ohno made public speeches sharing his experiences. Even if you understand, you are not going to be able to implement it, since you live far away from the gemba.

Knowing how busy you are, I believe your time will be better spent if you go back to your desk to work. Knowing that the gemba was the source of the real data, he would go to the gemba to ascertain the information he needed. Because Miyahara was seen in the gemba so often, the supervisor finally had to prepare a special desk for his use near the production line.

I once traveled to Central America and visited a branch of Yaohan, a Japanese supermarket chain headquartered in Hong Kong, whose stores span the globe. I asked the general manager, who had his office in the corner of a warehouse, how often he went to the gemba at a supermarket, the gemba is the sales floor, warehouse, and checkout counter.

When a manager makes a decision at her desk based on data, the manager is not in the gemba, and the source of the original information must be questioned carefully. An example will illustrate. Because of its volcanic terrain, Japan has many hot-spring resorts. A key attraction of the spas is the open-air bath rotemburo , where guests can soak while enjoying a view of river or mountains. I recently spent several days at a large hot-spring hotel that had both an indoor and an outdoor bath. Most guests would bathe in the indoor bath first and then walk down the stairs to the rotemburo.

I normally found about half the guests in each bath. One evening I found the indoor bath almost empty. When I went in, I found out why: The water was too hot.

Consequently, there was a crowd in the rotemburo, where the temperature was fine. Clearly, something was wrong with the indoor bath. A housekeeper who was bringing in additional towels and cleaning the bath had apparently not noticed anything amiss.

When I brought the problem to her attention, she quickly made a telephone call, and the temperature was restored to normal. He told me that the temperature of the indoor bath was set at The person who watches the meters is only relying on secondary information.

The information on the baths is first collected by the thermometer submerged in the tub and then transferred to the monitoring room by the electromechanical device, which moves the dial on the chart. Anything could go wrong in this process. The reality in the gemba is that at that time on that day, there were very few peo- ple in the indoor bath, and if the housekeeper had been trained to be more attentive, she could have noticed the situation, stuck her hand in the water, and found that it was too hot.

The feeling of the hot water you experience with your hand is the reality. People in the gemba should be responsible for quality because they are in touch with reality all the time. They are better equipped to maintain quality than the person in the monitoring room!

When you see measure- ments, doubt them! At best, measurements are only secondary informa- tion that does not always reflect the actual conditions. Many Western managers tend to choose not to visit the gemba.

They may take pride in not going to the site and not knowing much about it. Recently, on learning from the president of one company that he never visited the plant, I suggested that he do so once in a while.

So I can make a good decision based on the data. Why should I go to the plant? This attitude at the management level usually fosters a similar disrespect from workers.

If a reject is produced, for example, simply holding it in your hands, touching it, feeling it, closely examining it, and looking at the production method probably will reveal the cause. There, the managers get together and discuss the problem without ever looking at the gembutsu in this case, the machine , and then everybody disavows his or her culpability.

Kaizen starts with recognizing the problem. Once aware, we are already halfway to success. When I do not find any item for kaizen, I feel frustrated.

Being a mechanic by background and having worked close to the gemba all his life tuning and adjusting engines with screwdrivers and wrenches, he had many scars on his hands. Later in his life, when Honda visited nearby grade schools to talk with the children, he would proudly show them his hands and let them touch the scars there.

Gemba kaizen a commonsense approach pdf

Take Temporary Countermeasures on the Spot Once I visited a plant where I found a small broom attached to a machine engaged in cutting operations. At this point, the operator would pick up the broom and sweep the chips off the belt to start the machine again. After a while, the machine would stop, and the operator would repeat the same process to get it started again. The show must go on. Sometimes kicking the machine will do the job! However, temporary measures address only the symptoms, not the root cause, of machine stoppages.

Determination and self-discipline never stop the kaizen effort at the third stage temporary countermeasures. They continue to the next stage, identifying the real cause of the problem and taking action. Find the Root Cause Many problems can be solved quite readily using the gemba-gembutsu principles and common sense.

With a good look at the gembutsu at the site of the problem and determination to identify root causes, many gemba- related problems can be solved on the spot and in real time. Other problems require substantial preparation and planning to solve; examples include some engineering difficulties or the introduction of new technologies or systems.

In these cases, managers need to collect data from all angles and also may need to apply some sophisticated problem-solving tools. For instance, if chips falling on a conveyor belt are causing stoppages, a temporary guide or cover can be fashioned from cardboard on the spot. Once the effectiveness of the new method has been confirmed, a permanent metal device can be installed.

Such a change can be made within hours or certainly within a day or two. Do it right away! In reality, about 90 percent of all problems in the gemba can be solved right away if managers see the problem and insist that it be addressed on the spot. Supervisors need training on how to employ kaizen and what role they should play.

Suppose, for example, that you find a worker throwing sawdust on the floor in the corridor between machines. However, I have noticed that people tend to look at a problem in this case, oil on the floor and jump to the conclusion that throwing sawdust on it will solve everything. However, all manner of problems and abnormalities occur at plants every day; there are rejects, machines break down, production targets are missed, and people arrive late for work.

Whenever a given problem arises, management must solve it and make sure that it will not recur for the same reason. Once a problem has been solved, therefore, the new procedure needs to be standardized and the standardize-do-check-act SDCA cycle invoked.

Otherwise, people are always busy firefighting. Thus the fifth and last golden rule of gemba management is standardization. Next, the root causes must be sought out, and finally, after the effectiveness of the procedure devised to solve the problem has been confirmed, the new procedure must be standardized. In this manner, every abnormality gives rise to a kaizen project, which eventually should lead either to introducing a new standard or to upgrading the current standard.

Standardization ensures the continuity of the effects of kaizen. If a standard means the best way, it follows that the employee should adhere to the same standard in the same way every time. If employees do not follow standards in repetitive work—which is often the case in manufacturing gemba—the outcome will vary, leading to fluctuations in quality.

Management must clearly designate standards for employees as the only way to ensure customer-satisfying QCD. Managers who do not take the initiative to standardize the work procedure forfeit their job of managing the gemba. At Giorgio Foods, Inc. Upstairs, walls separated the rooms for each function: Today, a visitor to the company can see at a glance everyone working in one big room.

If the visitor is attentive, she will find Fred Giorgio among them, inconspicuously sitting at a small desk flanked by two other desks, each occupied by an executive of the company. At the entrance to the administrative floor are two small rooms: In the wall of the former is a window allowing the operator to see at a glance who is in and who is out. And because employees must pass the personnel office whenever they have business on the administrative floor, it has become easier for them to approach personnel people to discuss matters of concern.

I thought I had all the answers and I could do everything myself. They were able to do all the kaizen work themselves and make a difference on the lines. By going on the floor, I could really see what the workers were talking about. The workplace looks good, and when people come in, they want to be at work.

They feel good about themselves. They look good, and they feel good. Anyone like myself, who spends more than half his time traveling around the world on business, cannot accomplish their business without e-mail, mobile devices, and fax machines. During a hotel stay lasting a few days, I had a series of problems with the way the hotel handled incoming faxes.

I was supposed to have received an urgent fax from Tokyo. When I called my executive assistant there, I was assured that the transmission had gone through a few hours before. Because the document had not been delivered to me, I had to inquire at the front desk. The person at the desk was sure that no fax had arrived for me. Earlier, at this same hotel, I had received several faxes addressed to me, together with several meant for somebody else. I was so annoyed that I finally asked myself what I would do if I were the general manager of this hotel and received many complaints from customers on the way employees handled faxes.

My conclusion: Apply the golden rules, by all means! So I put myself in the shoes of a hotel manager interested in applying gemba kaizen. The first step was to go to the gemba, in this case, the lobby. I stood on an elevated platform in a corner of the lobby but did not draw a chalk circle and stayed there for a few minutes, watching attentively how people at the front office handled faxes.

It did not take five minutes to find out that there were no special procedure! For instance, there was no fixed place to store the incoming documents no standard. Some employees put them in the key boxes. Others left them on the desk. Still others put them wherever they found a space. We also might have arranged to record the times that faxes were delivered to guests standardization to avoid any arguments over whether or not a guest received a fax.

Discussing and agreeing on the new procedures probably would have taken no more than half an hour. You get what you pay for. A sustainable competitive advantage must be built not on unit cost alone but on a total cost that reflects the interaction of quality, cost, and delivery QCD. Quality, cost, and delivery are not distinctly separate subjects but rather are closely interrelated.

It is pointless to buy products or services lacking in quality, no matter how attractive their price. More Than Just a Result Quality in this context means the quality of products or services. In a broad sense, however, it also means the quality of the processes and of the work that yields those products or services. We may call the former result quality and the latter process quality. By this definition, quality runs through all phases of company activity—namely, throughout the processes of develop- ing, designing, producing, selling, and servicing the products or services.

Figure 3. One might say that this diagram shows all the key steps of process quality. Reading the diagram from left to right shows the involvement of people from various departments. The main body of the diagram shows activities that ensure quality at every process. The flow of quality-related information also appears here. The last column on the right shows the related standards, regulations, or documents corresponding to each stage of QA.

This diagram shows that before the gemba starts making the products, a long list of quality-assuring actions take place. However, the diagram also shows that items 1 through 7 have been completed by the time the gemba work begins. Activities that precede the gemba work standards 1 through 8 are called upstream management. Traditionally, when quality was perceived primarily as a matter of workmanship, quality-related improvement efforts focused mainly on the gemba.

While workmanship remains one of the most important pillars of quality, people increasingly recognize that quality in the area of design, product concepts, and understanding of customer requirements must precede gemba work. Top management must establish standards for quality of planning. The job of developing a new product or designing a new process starts with paperwork. Bugs or malfunctions can be rectified with the stroke of a pen at no cost.

Malfunctions identified later, in the production stage or— even worse—after the product has been delivered to the customer, necessitate very expensive corrections.

The system diagram in Figure 3. Upstream management plays an indispensable role in ensuring quality. On the other hand, if the gemba is not sufficiently robust, the company will not be able to enjoy the full benefits of even the most effective upstream management. Quality Management at the Gemba The gemba confronts quality issues from a different angle than upstream management.

While upstream management requires sophisticated tools, such as design reviews, design of experiments, value analysis, value engineering, and the various tools of QFD, many problems in the gemba relate to simple matters, such as workmanship and handling the difficulties and variations that come up every day e.

In order to reduce variability, management must establish standards, build self-discipline among employees to maintain standards, and make certain that no defects are passed on to the next customer. Most quality problems can be solved using gemba-gembutsu principles, the common- sense, low-cost approach explained in Chapter 2.

Statistical quality control SQC is often employed effectively in the gemba, but SQC is a tool to confine the variability of the processes and will work well only if everybody— particularly management—understands the concept of variability control and makes an effort to practice it. I once visited a plant whose manager was proud of her achievement of SQC.

I saw many control charts posted on the walls in her room. But once I stepped into the gemba, I realized that nobody understood variability. The operators had no standards, and they did their jobs differently with each piece they assembled.

During my visit, machines broke down repeatedly and many rejects were produced. Yet this manager was proud of her SQC! In other words, the Japanese approach is to do such kaizen systematically and continually. Quality improvement activities differed considerably during the two periods. During the first phase, for example, YHP took such actions as improving working standards, collecting and analyzing data on defects, introducing jigs for better control of the process, providing worker training, encouraging quality-circle activities, and reducing careless mistakes by operators.

To do this, YHP assembled a project team of gemba supervisors and production engineers to collect data, train quality-circle members, and provide technical assistance in such areas as jig construction. These actions helped to drive the failure rate down to 40 ppm from its previous level of 4, ppm see Figure 3.

Once the 40 ppm level had been reached, YHP needed to step up and refine these activities if it wanted to continue its momentum and make further gains see Figure 3.

It also needed to redesign its equipment as well as its layout, incorporating the just-in-time concepts. They also contributed greatly to the continuous improvement of the process. As a result, YHP reached the level of 3 ppm in Generally speaking, as long as the quality level remains in the percentile figures, companies can achieve dramatic improvement through such basic activities as reviewing the standards, housekeeping, collecting data on rejects, and conducting group activities for problem solving.

Then begin taking action. For example: These down-to-earth activities alone should reduce reject rates to a tenth their original levels. When these fundamentals are lacking, the variables are so large that sophisticated technologies do little to improve the process. Only after the basic variables have been addressed are the more challenging applications of SQC and other sophisticated approaches cost- effective.

Quality begins when everybody in the organization commits to never sending rejects or imperfect information to the next process. One should never inconvenience the customers in the next process by sending rejects to them. Cost management oversees the processes of developing, producing, and selling products or services of good quality while striving to lower costs or hold them to target levels.

Cost reduction at the gemba should come as a result of various activities carried out by management. Unfortunately, many managers try to reduce costs only by cutting corners; typical actions include firing employees, restructuring, and beating up suppliers.

Such cost cutting invariably disrupts the process of quality and ends in quality deterioration. When we respond to demand for lower prices simply by cost cutting, we soon find that quality and prompt delivery disappear. Cost management encompasses a wide spectrum of activities, including 1. Cost planning to maximize the margin between costs and revenues 2. Overall cost reduction at the gemba 3. Investment planning by top management Opportunities for cost reduction onsite may be expressed in terms of muda.

The best way to reduce costs in the gemba is to eliminate excess use of resources. To reduce costs, the following seven activities should be carried out simultaneously, with quality improvement being the most important. The other six major cost-reduction activities may be regarded as part of the process quality in a broader sense: Improve quality. Improve productivity. Reduce inventory. Shorten the production line. Reduce machine downtime. Reduce space.

Reduce lead time.

These efforts to eliminate muda will reduce the overall cost of operations. Cost Reduction at the Gemba 45 Improve Quality Quality improvement actually initiates cost reduction.

Improving the quality of the work processes results in fewer mistakes, fewer rejects and less rework, shorter lead time, and reduced use of resources, therefore lowering the overall cost of operations. Quality improvement is synonymous with better yields as well. Process quality includes the quality of work in developing, making, and selling products or services. At the gemba, the term specifically refers to the way products or services are made and delivered. It refers mainly to managing resources at the gemba; more specifically, it refers to managing man worker activity , machine, material, method, and measurement— known collectively as the five Ms 5M.

Improve Productivity to Lower Costs Productivity improves when less input produces the same output or when output increases with the same input. Input here refers to such items as human resources, utilities, and material. Output means such items as products, services, yield, and added value. Reduce the number of people on the line; the fewer line employees, the better. This not only reduces cost but also, more important, reduces quality problems because fewer hands present fewer opportunities to make mistakes.

I hasten to add that kaizen and productivity improvement must not result in firing of employees. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Epub Download Gemba Kaizen: Book Details Author: Masaaki Imai Pages: Hardcover Brand:A good place to start when learning about the Kaizen philosophy.

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