Kaizen: A Commonsense Low-Cost Approach to Management"
"How can we do our job better tomorrow
than were doing it today?" Masaaki Imai writes that in order to
be competitive and leaders in our field, managers need to bridge the tremendous gap that
exists between themselves and gemba (defined as the "real place" or
workplace) by unlearning the bad habits of using expensive and sophisticated tools to
solve problems. Instead, managers need to adopt the common-sense approach. The
basic ingredients of this approach are: 1) housekeeping, 2) elimination of waste, and 3)
standardization. Imai expresses how a company can achieve significant improvements, at low
or no-cost, by using this approach.
Imai emphasizes that the common-sense approach to
management starts with understanding the workplace. Gemba is the site of all
improvement activities and undoubtedly is the source of all information. Gemba is
the location of reality, where processes and actual conditions exist and where the
information about the process is most reliable. Imai writes about Toyota manager, Taiichi
Ohno, and his experience with managing supervisors who were not in touch with the
realities of gemba. To ensure his supervisors experienced the reality of the
workplace, Ohno would draw a circle next to gemba and have the supervisor to stand
within the circle and study the process to gain awareness. When this level of awareness is
achieved, continuous improvement (kaizen) can begin. Then, with practice, kaizen
becomes a way of life for an organization.
For more information on MTTC's Kaizen and Shopfloor Organization
Workshop, contact Aimee Cecil [email protected].
Phone: (502)367-2186 Fax: (502)367-4261