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Gemba Kaizen

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Gemba Kaizen

A Common Sense, Low-Cost Approach to Management


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Continuous, never-ending improvement. All you need to Know about Kaizen.

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Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


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. getAbstract recommends this book to managers, particularly executives of manufacturing companies.


Deliberate Consideration

Managers can choose from two approaches when they tackle problems. The typical Western approach hinges on innovation, which requires costly technology, fancy computers, and lots of money. The Japanese approach known as kaizen, on the other hand, uses common sense, checklists, and other inexpensive techniques. Kaizen is a strategy that is practiced by everyone in a company, from the chairman to the janitor. In this process of constant improvement, advances are incremental. However, kaizen’s small steps ultimately lead to significant change. Western managers prefer the dramatic forward leaps that come with innovation. But innovation often results in problems of its own. Kaizen encompasses several strategies, including total quality control, total productive maintenance, just-in-time production, quality circles, and suggestion systems.

Going to Gemba

Gemba literally means the workplace, and more specifically, the place where a company makes its product and comes into contact with customers. However, gemba does not refer to a manager’s desk. In a manufacturing company, gemba often refers to the entire manufacturing plant. At a hotel, gemba...

About the Author

Masaaki Imai is a lecturer and consultant. He chairs the Kaizen Institute of Japan. His first book, Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, sold more than 179,000 copies and was translated into fourteen languages.

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