One of the commonly used methodologies to improving an organization’s procedures and increasing customer satisfaction is Gemba Kaizen.
Gemba Kaizen is a procedure that helps to lower overall costs and improve productivity. It also has a positive effect on all employees of the company and allows for individuals to feel as though their contributions are meaningful, values and appreciated.
The process involves educating the entire workforce on methods of analyzing and observing issues within an organization and coming up with solutions. It encourages employees to be aware of various issues and to make their own suggestions for improvement. It is considered a method of problem solving that respects ideas that are contributed in hopes of benefiting the company.
The main way that Gemba Kaizen is implemented is by dealing with problems directly at the source.
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Once a solution is determined, it is implemented and monitored in order to track its success. If a desirable result is reached then the solution is passed on for use if the issue reoccurs. Typically, Gemba Kaizen prevents the same problems from reoccurring. Despite its many advantages, Gemba Kaizen does have some limitations that are worthy of noting before implementing this methodology.
One of the most significant limitations of Gemba Kaizen worth considering are the costs involved. When a problem is being faced it is common for costs to revolve around solving the problem or implementing new changes in the company. While this time period should not last long until positive changes occur, the time it takes to implement the solution can have a negative effect on other aspects of budgeting as well.
A vital point of Gemba Kaizen is to monitor and identify errors in an organization and to come up with solutions for improvement. Since this is usually done in smaller increments, it is necessary to have a strong managerial system in order to micro-manage the various processes. It is necessary for managers to be able to listen to employees and to help with the various stages involved in applying the solution.
Therefore, communication between managers and employees is very important and there needs to be an open communication level within the organization. This dependence on the ability to communicate and analyze effectively can be difficult to perform on a continuous basis. One of the best ways to ensure that Gemba Kaizen methodology succeeds is to encourage and monitor methods of communication within the organization and selecting desirable candidates to be in charge of this important step.
About the author:
Shruti Bhat PhD MBA Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is Pharmaceutical R&D and Continuous Improvement Director, Innoworks Canada
Shruti leads path-breaking product development programs such as Complex Generics, Nanotechnology and Targeted delivery systems for pharmaceuticals and natural products. Her mantra is to "Shorten development timelines, build quality-by-design, lean processes and bring products fast- to- market". Shruti integrates her proficiency in Design Thinking, Lean, Kaizen and other Continuous Improvement methodologies to improve R&D processes, productivity and profitability.
Shruti is Product Development & Continuous Improvement Advisor to several start ups, mid-size and growing firms in Canada, USA, India, Africa and other Emerging markets. Shruti has authored six books and is an invited speaker at several conferences and workshops.
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Continuous Business Improvement with mastermind Shruti Bhat series- Note limitations of Gemba Kaizen
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