Genchi Genbutsu Observing the Process Where the Problem Lies

4 Min Read
Genchi Genbutsu Observing the Process Where the Problem Lies

Genchi Genbutsu is the Japanese principle for solving problems faster and more effectively by going to the heart of the problem. It is core to the Lean Methodology and one of the building blocks of continuo Continuous Improvement. It’s focused on seeing how the process is working, actually going there to see it for yourself.

In other words, you go and see what the problem actually looks like on the ground before making any decisions about how to fix it. The theory behind this methodology is that by physically seeing the real condition of your process, you’ll be able to more effectively improve it than if you were just brainstorming from the comfort of your office chair or conference room table.

It’s easy to implement in your business and can improve efficiency across your entire organization instantly. This methodology can be applied to our daily lives as well as business processes.

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What is Genchi Genbutsu?

The Japanese principle Genchi Genbutsu  (現地現物)  is a part of the  Toyota Way / Toyota Production System (TPS) developed by Taiichi Ohno.

Genchi means “actual place” and Genbutsu means “actual thing.” equaling “actual place, actual thing.” or “go and see”

Developed for the purpose of illustrating how important it is to go to the point where the action and failures are happening, seeing both the production point where adding value to the business but also the waste (muda) or problem area is.

Simply saying go to and directly observe with your own eyes, in the location and its conditions in order to understand and solve any problems faster and more effectively. In business practice, it means that if you want to solve any problem you should go see it, not hear about it via second or third parties. Go directly to the source of the problem and see how the process is or isn’t working when assessing and analysing the process.

What are benefits of Genchi Genbutsu?

It’s widely used in the manufacturing industry in which management observes its operation to learn about issues, offer solutions and improve efficiencies. The practice of going to physically check on equipment or processes can be as simple as stepping out of your office and talking to your employees. This hands-on tactic allows you to better understand your team members’ challenges so you can work together toward achieving shared goals.

Whether you want to improve your product, services or workplace environment; a good place to start is to look at what works and what doesn’t. It will allow you to identify solutions where the problem needs solving.

Genchi Genbutsu examples:

Let’s say your business has an issue with high employee turnover. To get a deeper understanding of what’s causing it (and how you can solve it), go observe employees working on-site. By observing them as they work, you’ll have some clues about possible solutions—whether that means better training, creating more opportunities for growth, equipment needed etc. Whatever it might be, observing first-hand gives you insights that statistical data cannot provide. It is also critical to talk to people in the role to get even more insight.

If you are getting numerous delays, mistakes or errors in a process. By observing first hand you can see if this is a process error or a human error which with some changes could stop. This is how Checkify aims to help your business. By documenting processes and giving people a how-to manual, guiding them on how to perform a process can then reduce mistakes. Allowing processes to be launched in the form of checklists that can be used over and over again and continuously improved to make them better and save both time and money.

Embed yourself within the process, and personally experience the problem before making changes.

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