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on February 18, 1998
Gemba is the place where value-adding activities take place. Decisive results can be achieved by focusing improvement activities in gemba. The author encourages managers and professionals to spend time in gemba to see what is happening and to encourage the front-line workers. General George S. Patton could easily be described as a gemba man: he encouraged officers to go to the scene of the action instead of trying to "lead" from a headquarters in the rear. He also recognized the role of the frontline worker (soldier) in achieving results. As a result, the troops under Patton's command won amazing and seemingly impossible victories. Companies that want to hold their market share and capture their competitors' must understand this lesson. (Imai does not discuss Patton, but the historical parallel is obvious.) My books "The Way of discuss General Carl von Clausewitz' "friction" in a workplace context. Friction includes seemingly minor inefficiencies and problems whose combined effects degrade the organization's performance. Imai uses the word "muda" (waste), and stresses the need to suppress it. Tom Peters says, "The accumulation of little items, each too 'trivial' to trouble the boss with, is a prime cause of miss-the-market delays." (from "Thriving on Chaos.") Muda is essentially the same thing as friction. Imai also mentions "muri" (strain), which arises from inadequate training, poor ergonomic design, and inadequate preventive maintenance. Muri is another form of friction. Imai also discusses tools like 5S-CANDO (CANDO = clearing up, arranging, neatness, discipline, and ongoing improvement). 5S-CANDO is another tool for reducing friction. Imai discusses Just-in-Time (JIT) as a tool for reducing inventory and improving product flow. Readers of Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox's "The Goal" will appreciate this section. Synchronous flow manufacturing (SFM) is treated in detail in "Leading the Way to Competitive Excellence: The Harris Mountaintop Case Study". The idea of JIT/SFM is to produce goods in response to customer demand, not to keep people and equipment busy. Imai discussess a mattress factory that uses this approach: it not only keeps inventory down, but it can offer far more product lines. This is a key tool for going after niche (small, specialized, customized) markets. William A. Levinson
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on May 21, 2001
As a practitioner and instructor of lean and six sigma, I recommend this book a lot. Gemba is a vitally important concept that often gets overlooked or gets overshadowed by our data, especially in an increasingly e-driven world. Gemba Kaizen is especially useful for engineers and supervisors, who may not have extensive TPS experience, who need a practical guide for applying lean principals in their workplace. It has a nice glossary at the beginning. It has good sections on visual management (5S) and standard work. In addition to the 10 Rules for Gemba Kaizen, the following Imai quote is one of my favorites: "A lack of the five S's in gemba indicates inefficiency, muda, insufficient self-discipline, low moral, poor quality, high costs, and an inability to meet delivery terms."
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on January 2, 1999
Masaaki Imai's Gemba Kaizen is the most refreshing read I have had in years. Buy it. Read it. Live it. Too many managers have lost touch with reality. Too many decisions are made from ivory towers. Too many CEOs,General Managers, Department Managers and Engineers rarely spend enough time on their shop floors, and subsequently lose touch with where value is added. This book offers a refreshing, low-cost, common sense approach that can have a life-long impact on any reader. The scope of this book is boundless, in that it can apply to either the public or private sectors. This book would make a great gift!
-- Tony R. Mannon
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on March 20, 2001
Author Masaaki Imai argues that companies can become more profitable by constantly looking for efficiencies, instead of seeking huge leaps, as is the Western custom. The Japanese philosophy of kaizen says businesses must mercilessly cut waste by eliminating anything that's even remotely inefficient. These strategies will lead to more profitable companies and better employee morale. Imai makes compelling arguments, and supports them with a number of case studies and real world examples that show kaizen in action. We at getAbstract recommend this book to managers, particularly executives of manufacturing companies.
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on October 27, 1999
The book Gemba-Kaizen is somewhat disappointing if you have read the book 'Kaizen' already. It gives not much new information. The only new idea in the book is the attention given to the 'Gemba', the place where the processes are performed. Imai is right to stress the importance of the Gemba for operational excellence and he gives some nice tools and examples to illustrate the Gemba's importance. However, only one nice idea is somewhat poor to fill a whole book. The major message of the book can be told just as well in an articel of no more then 4 pages.
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on May 27, 1999
After reading Lean Thinking, The Goal and a few other books on manufacturing, I picked up this book based on the Amazon recommendation. I am sorry to say that the book was disappointing since it spoke of concepts that are well known. JIT, Kanban, Lean Manufacturing. Just like the hundreds of books on these concepts, this is a mere extension of the same concept and nothing in this book is different. I am used to reading both management and extremely technical books, but this one just could not hold my interest.
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on January 4, 2012
Of the many Lean books on my shelf, this one is the least impressive. Although Masaaki Imai seems to have a great deal of knowledge on this subject, the writing style seemed a too dry for my liking and focused more on process rather than people (the latter being a critical element in implementing Lean principles and practices). Look for other titles about Lean before you go with this one....
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on October 26, 2000
I read Gemba first and then followed up with Kaizen. I think it is necessary to read both, even though some people might disagree and say that if you read Kaizen first there was no need for Gemba.
My opinions is: Gemba adds meaning to the Kaizen book. It's full of thoughtful ideas. It's a must to read.
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on May 6, 1999
This book will change the way you think. If you apply the methods in the book, you will be well on your way to that continuous improvement journey. I am constantly finding myself trying to apply Kaizen principles everywhere I go.
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on April 30, 1999
Great book for any Manager involved in the implementation of Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing principles. Very good explanation of the fundamental elemenets involved in the continuous improvement of Quality, Cost and Delivery.
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