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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is a delightful little book that provides important insights into how an organization can be successful by continuously looking at improving its operations, enhance efficiencies and refining operations. This would result in improved quality, productivity and ultimately profit for an organization but without the upheavals and pain associated with the likes of business process reengineering which is advocated by some people.

The author advocates the adoption of lean manufacturing principles, just-in-time processes, and Kanban, which should result in increased company profitability without adversely impacting employee morale and trust. The concepts highlighted in the book are well-known and the author consolidates these in a small book that makes easy and fast reading and a convenient reference guide for practitioners.

The book is recommended reading for managers involved in the implementation of lean manufacturing and Kaizen principles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 1998
Do not expend thousands of dollars on consulters, expend just a few dollars to buy this book and implement these methodology in your company or business. GREAT BOOK
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Gemba" is a Japanese word meaning "'the real place' where real action occurs: where products are developed ... and made, and where services are provided. [Improvement] should be focused [in gemba] where they'll do the most good."

Software developers and testers: enjoy reading a quality improvement book that puts you and your work at the center. Managers and executives: be refreshed about what your workers need from you, and what you can expect of your workers.

Masaaki Imai has half a century of experience helping companies continuously improve. The quality challenge for software companies is how to interpret these ideas in software development as opposed to manufacturing. Read this book and ask yourself: where is gemba in your company?
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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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