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Download Read Online Free Now eBook Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success By Imai [KINDLE PDF EBOOK EPUB]. (c) Download this free e-book. The Google Analytics Guide by House Of Kaizen. Introduction to Google Analytics. Cookies in Google Analytics. Google Analytics. Kaizen is treated in this book in three stages: planning, implementation and ISBN ; Digitally watermarked, DRM-free; Included format: EPUB, PDF; ebooks can be used on all reading devices; Immediate eBook download.

Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Supreet Singh. A true sensei and master of kaizen, Mr. Imai shares sage and timeless advice on engaging all team members in process improvements and radical redesigns which are deeply meaningful to all stakeholders.

Improvement, meanwhile, refers to activities directed toward elevating current standards. The Japanese view of management thus boils down to one precept: Maintain and improve standards. As Figure 1. Kaizen signifies small improvements as a result of ongoing efforts. Innovation involves a drastic improvement as a result of a large investment of resources in new technology or equipment.

Whenever money is a key factor, innovation is expensive. Kaizen, on the other hand, emphasizes human efforts, morale, communication, training, teamwork, involvement, and self-discipline—a commonsense, low-cost approach to improvement. Process versus Result Kaizen fosters process-oriented thinking because processes must be improved for results to improve.


Failure to achieve planned results indicates a failure in the process. Management must identify and correct such process-based errors. Kaizen focuses on human efforts—an orientation that contrasts sharply with the results-based thinking in the West. A process-oriented approach also should be applied in the intro- duction of the various kaizen strategies: Kaizen strategies have failed many companies simply because they ignored process.

The most crucial element in the kaizen process is the commitment and involvement of top man- agement. It must be demonstrated immediately and consistently to ensure success in the kaizen process. It is one of the most important concepts of the process see Figure 1.

Plan refers to establishing a target for improvement since kaizen is a way of life, there always should be a target for improvement in any area and devising action plans to achieve that target.

Do refers to implementing the plan. Check refers to determining whether the implementation remains on track and has brought about the planned improvement. Act refers to performing and standardizing the new procedures to prevent recurrence of the original problem or to set goals for the new improvements.

The PDCA cycle revolves continuously; no sooner is an improvement made than the resulting status quo becomes the target for further improvement.

PDCA means never being satisfied with the status quo. Because employees prefer the status quo and frequently do not have initiative to improve conditions, management must initiate PDCA by establishing continuously challenging goals.

In the beginning, any new work process is unstable. Every time an abnormality occurs in the current process, the following questions must be asked: Did it happen because we did not have a standard? Did it happen because the standard was not followed? Or did it happen because the standard was not adequate?

Only after a standard has been established and followed, stabilizing the current process, should one move on to the PDCA cycle. Putting Quality First Of the primary goals of quality, cost, and delivery QCD , quality always should have the highest priority. No matter how attractive the price and delivery terms offered to a customer, the company will not be able to compete if the product or service lacks quality.

Practicing a quality-first credo requires management commitment because managers often face the temptation to make compromises in meeting delivery requirements or cutting costs. In so doing, they risk sacrificing not only quality but also the life of the business. In order for a problem to be correctly understood and solved, the problem must be recognized and the relevant data gathered and analyzed.

Trying to solve a problem without hard data is akin to resorting to hunches and feelings—not a very scientific or objective approach. Collecting data on the current status helps you to understand where you are now focusing; this serves as a starting point for improvement.

Collecting, verifying, and analyzing data for improvement is a theme that recurs throughout this book. The Next Process Is the Customer All work is a series of processes, and each process has its supplier as well as its customer. A material or a piece of information provided by process A supplier is worked on and improved in process B and then sent on to process C.

The next process always should be regarded as a customer. Most people working in an organization deal with internal customers. This realization should lead to a commitment never to pass on defective parts or inaccurate pieces of information to those in the next process. When everybody in the organization practices this axiom, the external customer in the market receives a high-quality product or service as a result. A real quality-assurance system means that everybody in the organization subscribes to and practices this axiom.

Major Kaizen Systems The following are major systems that should be in place in order to successfully achieve a kaizen strategy: This has evolved into a system encompassing all aspects of management and is now referred to as total quality management TQM , a term used internationally. It further extends to suppliers, dealers, and wholesalers. The Just-in-Time Production System Originating at Toyota Motor Company under the leadership of Taiichi Ohno, the just-in-time JIT production system aims at eliminating non- value-adding activities of all kinds and achieving a lean production system that is flexible enough to accommodate fluctuations in customer orders.

Major Kaizen Systems 9 To realize the ideal JIT production system, a series of kaizen activities must be carried out continuously to eliminate non-value-adding work in gemba.

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JIT dramatically reduces cost, delivers the product in time, and greatly enhances company profits. Total Productive Maintenance An increasing number of manufacturing companies now practice total productive maintenance TPM within as well as outside of Japan. Whereas TQM emphasizes improving overall management performance and quality, TPM focuses on improving equipment quality.

TPM seeks to maximize equipment efficiency through a total system of preventive maintenance spanning the lifetime of the equipment. The five S of housekeeping discussed in Chapter 5 , another pivotal activity in gemba, may be regarded as a prelude to TPM. However, 5S activities have registered remarkable achievements in many cases even when carried out separately from TPM. Management should establish clear targets to guide everyone and make certain to provide leadership for all kaizen activities directed toward achieving the targets.

Real kaizen strategy at work requires closely supervised implementation. This process is called Policy Deployment, or in Japanese, hoshin kanri. First, top management must devise a long-term strategy, broken down into medium-term and annual strategies. Top management must have a plan-to-deploy strategy, passing it down through subsequent levels of management until it reaches the shop floor.

As the strategy cascades down to the lower echelons, the plan should include increasingly specific action plans and activities. Kaizen is most effective when everybody works to achieve a target, and management should set that target. The Suggestion System The suggestion system functions as an integral part of individual-oriented kaizen and emphasizes the morale-boosting benefits of positive employee participation. Japanese managers see its primary role as that of sparking employee interest in kaizen by encouraging them to provide many suggestions, no matter how small.

Japanese employees are often encouraged to discuss their suggestions verbally with supervisors and put them into action right away, even before submitting suggestion forms. They do not expect to reap great economic benefits from each suggestion. Developing kaizen-minded and self-disciplined employees is the primary goal. Small-Group Activities A kaizen strategy includes small-group activities—informal, voluntary, intracompany groups organized to carry out specific tasks in a workshop environment.

The most popular type of small-group activity is quality circles. Designed to address not only quality issues but also such issues as cost, safety, and productivity, quality circles may be regarded as group- oriented kaizen activities.

Quality circles have played an important part in improving product quality and productivity in Japan. However, their role often has been blown out of proportion by overseas observers, who believe that these groups are the mainstay of quality activities in Japan. Management plays a leading role in realizing quality—in ways that include building quality-assurance systems, providing employee training, estab- lishing and deploying policies, and building cross-functional systems for QCD.

Successful quality-circle activities indicate that management plays an invisible but vital role in supporting such activities. The Ultimate Goal of Kaizen Strategy 11 The Ultimate Goal of Kaizen Strategy Since kaizen deals with improvement, we must know which aspects of business activities need to be improved most.

And the answer to this question is quality, cost, and delivery QCD. My previous book, Kaizen: Quality refers not only to the quality of finished products or services but also to the quality of the processes that go into those products or services. Cost refers to the overall cost of designing, producing, selling, and servicing the product or service.

Delivery means delivering the requested volume on time. When the three conditions defined by the term QCD are met, customers are satisfied. QCD activities bridge such functional and departmental lines as research and development, engineering, production, sales, and after-sales service.

Therefore, cross-functional collaborations are necessary, as are collaborations with suppliers and dealers. Following the chapters of this book, I have assembled a number of cases that illustrate how various companies from both manufacturing and service sectors have implemented the concepts and systems of gemba kaizen.

This is unfortunate but understandable; being present on the gemba can be a greater mind-set and behavior change than simply doing kaizen. The Cambridge Business English Dictionary is one of a few sources, as of November , to give the definition of gemba as an English word: Japanese use the word gemba in their daily speech. The gemba is where the action is and where the facts may be found.

In business, the value-adding activities that satisfy the customer happen in the gemba. Within Japanese industry, the word gemba is almost as popular as kaizen. If, in his conver- sation with the Japanese manager, he heard the word kaizen within the first 5 minutes and the word gemba within the first 10 minutes, he concluded that it must be a good company. All businesses practice three major activities directly related to earning profit: Without these activities, a company cannot exist.

Therefore, in a broad sense, gemba means the sites of these three major activities. In a narrower context, however, gemba means the place where the products or services are formed.

This book will use the word in this narrower context because these sites have been one of the business arenas most neglected by management. Managers seem to overlook the workplace as a means to generate revenue, and they usually place far more emphasis on such sectors as financial management, marketing and sales, and product development.

When manage- ment focuses on the gemba, or work sites, they discover opportunities for making the company far more successful and profitable. In many service sectors, the gemba is where the customers come into contact with the services offered.

In the hotel business, for instance, gemba is everywhere: At banks, the tellers are working in the gemba, as are the loan officers receiving applicants. The same goes for employees working at desks in offices and for telephone operators sitting in front of switchboards. Thus gemba spans a multitude of office and administrative functions. Most departments in these service companies have internal customers with whom they have interdepartmental activity, which also represents the gemba.

Figure 2. The regular management layers—top management, middle management, engineering staff, and supervisors—exist to provide the necessary support to the work site. For that matter, gemba should be the site of all improve- ments and the source of all information. Therefore, management must maintain close contact with the realities of the gemba in order to solve whatever problems arise there. To put it differently, whatever assistance management provides should start from the specific needs of the work site.

Management exists to help the gemba do a better job by reducing constraints as much as possible. In reality, however, I wonder how many managers correctly understand their role. More often than not, managers regard the gemba as a failure source, where things always go wrong, and they neglect their responsibility for those problems.

In some Western companies where the influence of strong unions practically controls the gemba, management avoids involvement in gemba affairs. Sometimes management even appears afraid of the plant and seems almost lost or helpless. Even in places where the union does not exercise a firm grip, gemba work is left to veteran supervisors who are allowed by management to run the show as they please.

In such cases, management has lost control of the workplace. Supervisors should play a key role in gemba manage- ment, and yet they often lack the basic training to manage or to do their most important job: Eric Machiels, who came to Japan from Europe as a young student to learn about Japanese management practices, was placed in a Japanese automotive assembly plant as an operator: Comparing his experience there with his previous experience in European gemba, Machiels observed much more intense communication between management and operators in Japan, resulting in a much more effective two-way information flow between them.

Workers had a much clearer understanding of management expectations and of their own responsibilities in the whole kaizen process. The resulting constructive tension on the work floor made the work much more challeng- ing in terms of meeting management expectations and giving workers a higher sense of pride in their work. Maintaining gemba at the top of the management structure requires committed employees.

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Workers must be inspired to fulfill their roles, to feel proud of their jobs, and to appreciate the contribution they make to their company and society. This approach contrasts sharply with perceptions of gemba Figure 2. 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.

Kaizen Planning, Implementing and Controlling | Jorge Luis García-Alcaraz | Springer

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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. There are many ways to use employees freed from a process where productivity has improved.

Management must consider employees freed up by kaizen activities as resources for other value-adding activities and innovation efforts. When productivity goes up, cost goes down. Reduce Inventory Inventory occupies space, prolongs production lead time, creates transport and storage needs, and eats up financial assets. Products and work-in- process sitting on the factory floor or in the warehouse do not yield any added value.

Shorten the Production Line In manufacturing, a longer production line requires more people, more work-in-process, and a longer lead time.

More people on the line also means more mistakes, which lead to quality problems. The result—in terms of the number of people employed on the line, the quality level more people producing more quality problems , the inventory both work-in-process and finished products , and the much longer lead time—was an overall cost of operations that was much higher than it needed to be.

I once reviewed the layout of a production line that was to be intro- duced soon at a company that was manufacturing a new product. To my surprise, the new process was a carbon copy of the existing one, except that some of the existing machines were replaced with the latest models.

The company had made no effort to shorten the line. Management had not included shortening the line as one of its targets, nor had the designers given it a thought. In Japan, an engineer tasked with collecting catalogues from various machine makers and placing orders from among them to design a new lay- out is called a catalogue engineer—not a very prestigious title.

Management should encourage such engineers to do a better production layout—to design ever-shorter assembly lines employing fewer and fewer people. The situation is exactly the same in nonmanufacturing activities. Reduce Machine Downtime A machine that goes down interrupts production. Unreliable machinery necessitates batch production, extra work-in-process, extra inventory, and extra repair efforts.

Quality also suffers. All these factors increase the cost of operations. Such problems are similar in the service sector. When a newly hired employee is assigned to a workstation without proper training to handle the equipment, the consequent delay in operation may be just as costly as if the equipment were down.

Reduce Space As a rule, manufacturing companies use four times as much space, twice as many people, and 10 times as much lead time as they really need. Despite the decades of information technology advancement and kaizen activity undertaken by many companies since , this remains true for the majority of businesses today.

Typically, gemba kaizen eliminates conveyor lines, shortens production lines, incorporates separate workstations into the main line of production, reduces inventory, and decreases transporta- tion needs.

All these improvements reduce space requirements. Extra space freed up by gemba kaizen may be used to add new lines or may be reserved for future expansion. A similar improvement can be introduced in a nonmanufacturing environment.

Reduce Lead Time Throughput Time Lead time begins when a company pays for raw materials and supplies and ends only when the company receives payment from its customer for products sold. Thus lead time represents the turnover of money. A shorter lead time means better use and turnover of resources, more flexibility in meeting customer needs, and a lower cost of operations.

Muda in the area of lead time presents a golden opportunity for kaizen. Ways to cut lead time include improving and speeding feedback of customer orders and communicating better with suppliers; this reduces the inventory of raw materials and supplies.

We have a dedicated site for Ukraine. This book reports a literature review on kaizen, its industrial applications, critical success factors, benefits gained, journals that publish about it, main authors research groups and universities. Kaizen is treated in this book in three stages: The study has been applied to more than managers and leaders in continuous improvement in Mexican maquiladoras. A univariate analysis is provided to the activities in every stage. Moreover, structural equation models associating those activities with the benefits gained are presented for a statistical validation.

Such a relationship between activities and benefits helps managers to identify the most important factor affecting their benefits and financial income.

His main research areas are related to Multi criteria decision making applied to manufacturing, production process modeling and statistical inference. Her main research areas are related to total quality management, continuous improvement, decision making and modeling applied to production processes.

JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Management and Industrial Engineering Free Preview. Helps managers identify the most important factor affecting their financial income Offers a complete resource on the planning, implementation and controlling of kaizen Provides uni- and multivariate analysis for kaizen see more benefits.

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