Imai 2012 continuous improvement strategy

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Imai, M. Gemba Kaizen: a commonsense approach to a continuous improvement strategy. 2nd Edition (1997). McGraw Hill, New York, New York. 426 pp.

Request sharing chapters 1-2 from Pcereghino (talk) for educational purposes



  • CUSTOMER - Considering "quality first", and that quality in this framework represents the wants and needs of customers, in the context of publically funded ecosystem restoration, what is "quality" and who is the "customer" and how do these definitions change based no where among institutions you sit? If the next process is always the "customer" what is our next process, and is there a terminal process?
  • SCALE OF ANALYSIS - Is factor management an important metaphor for the ecosystem stewardship or restoration industry? What is the appropriate scale at which to evaluate quality and waste? Because Quality/Cost/Delivery ultimately cross "departmental lines" how do we evaluate.
  • GEMBA - Given the frame of customer-focused, gemba-oriented, kaizen-driven, where exactly in place and time is gemba; where is value created in the restoration industry. In manufacturing the author suggests "developing, producing and selling" as the common locations of Gemba (p14) is there a restoration correlary.
  • GEMBUTSU - once we know where Gemba is in ecosystem stewardship, what are the observable facts of these places that tell us about waste or quality?
  • MANAGEMENT - This framework reframes the role of management as in service to Gemba, and having the purpose of removing constraints.
  • INNOVATION/IMPROVEMENT - Difference between innovation and improvement. What are potential mechanisms of improvement?
  • STANDARDS - SDCA as starting point. Cannot collectively improve without a standard. How does creativity fit into a standards focused system? What exactly is a standard? Does having a standard mean that you always do something the same way? Can there be creative expression within such a system, and what does that look like? What are the risks of not having standards in a hierarchical system? What are the enabling conditions for Kaizen in Gemba? What does "the best way to do the job" mean in a complex environment (p32)?
  • p9 what is the difference between policy creation and policy deployment?
  • COMPETITION - This business oriented thinking references competition. In public service, is there competition to provide the service to the customer?
  • WASTE (MUDA) - Waste here is defined as all work that doesn't create value (quality/price/delivery). What are examples of waste in the restoration industry? How does this depend on your definition of the customer?
  • ROOT CAUSE - What are examples of waste that have a complicated root cause?
  • INFORMATION DISTORTION - p27. Gemba is not the managers desk and sources of information must be questioned. p28 "The feeling of the hot water you experience with your hand is the reality." The book spends 5x as much time saying "go to gemba" as the subsequent sections.