Genchi Genbutsu is a Japanese term translating to mean go and see for yourself. Like many other Lean terms, has its roots in the Toyota Production System and is considered a best practice for leadership. This principle is the idea that people need to physically go and see the happenings of a business at the factory floor level to have a full understanding. It is a problem-solving approach manager use to identify solutions while seeing the problem up close.
If managers or supervisors really want to know how their facility is operating, they need to go observe it themselves. One of the ways they can do this is by going to the floor and following the production of a product from start to finish. Start in the receiving department to see how inventory and materials arrive, move to the production line to follow the manufacturing process, and end the tour in the shipping department. It can seem like a time consuming effort but practicing this attitude can actually solve issues before they even arise.
Genchi Genbutsu is also referred to as “Gemba attitude” and is the foundation of a Gemba walk. There is more to the concept of Genchi Genbutsu than just walking through the facility floor, and it requires observation and comprehension from the leader, manager, or whoever is taking the Gemba. A Gemba walk can be conducted for the entire facility or a section of the facility may be chosen as the focus for the walk. Not only does Gemba address any current problems and potential issues, but it is also used as a tool for waste identification.
By seeing issues up close and personal, managers will have a better understanding of issues while also having the opportunity to talk to the “experts”, those working on the floor and dealing with the issue personally. Genchi Genbutsu is also an effective tool for new employees. If they’re allowed to take a comprehensive tour of the facility, they will be able to see how their job affects the big picture gaining a deeper understanding of the production process.