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BOOK REVIEW 

 

"Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense Low-Cost Approach to Management"

Author: Masaaki Imai

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Date: 1997

ISBN: 0-07-031446-2

Cost: $24.95

"How can we do our job better tomorrow than we’re 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

 

 

 

 

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