Learn about Genchi Genbutsu, advantages, tips, example in lean manufacturing, and technology to apply it in your organization.
Published 22 Nov 2022
Genchi Genbutsu is one of the building blocks of continuous improvement which means go and see for yourself. The Japanese term “Genchi” means actual place, while “Genbutsu” means actual thing. It is one of the thirteen pillars of the Toyota Production System and was established to empower people to solve the problem by seeing the issue for themselves.
The objective of the Genchi Genbutsu principle is to emphasize the importance of being on the manufacturing site where production is happening to fully understand the processes, examine the working environment, and determine waste generation. It is a good practice because when problems arise, management can advise the best possible solution immediately.
The concept of Genchi Genbutsu focuses on facts about what really happened in the production area. It helps organizations to visualize the issue and pinpoint the root cause of the problem in an accurate manner. Performing Genchi Genbutsu can help organizations reap the following benefits:
Genchi Genbutsu vs Gemba | SafetyCulture
Genchi Genbutsu is commonly associated with Gemba Walk as they have the same concept to promote continuous improvement. Like Genchi Genbusu, Gemba is also a Japanese term that means “the real place” which is defined as the act of seeing where the actual work happens.
Even though Gemba and Genchi Genbutsu have similar concepts, they differ in their process and implementation. Gemba walk aims to observe certain areas of a facility to look for improvement opportunities and there are no specific issues that the organization was trying to solve. It emphasizes continuous improvement by watching the required actions to complete daily tasks and identify circumstances to implement safety in the workplace.
On the other hand, Genchi Genbutsu is performed when there is an occurrence of an issue that the organization is trying to solve. The exact area on the production floor where the issue happened is where the investigation begins to solve the problem. It helps identify the root cause of the problem by asking relevant questions to operators and walking around the area to investigate.
The key to Genchi Genbutsu is the area where the problem occurred. It is important to determine where the analysis should start and what would be the range of the investigation in order to provide a credible solution. Here are some tips when performing Genchi Genbutsu.
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Genchi Genbutsu principle is performed to identify the root cause of the issue about substandard products being produced. Attending supervisors will go to the production floor and roam around the area. They will investigate the working environment, processes, and equipment to analyze the problem. They can ask around what happened and get the input of operators and check the machinery to discover what the issue might be. After visual check and root cause analysis, they can give an effective solution on how to prevent the production of substandard products.
Implementing Genchi Genbutsu in lean manufacturing is easy, you just have to go into the area and see the issue for yourself, but keeping a record of the incident can be challenging especially if you are using the traditional pen and paper method. It can be cumbersome and prone to damage or loss. With SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor), an inspection app that can be used through the web or mobile platforms, you can maximize technology and ensure collaboration within the organization and maintain a secured inspection record. You can also take advantage of the following benefits:
Set up the organization for benchmarking and standardization. Use technology to improve the quality of work and implement continuous improvement in the workplace. Get started with SafetyCulture’s ready-to-use templates.
A Genchi Genbutsu inspection template is used by the attending manager to log problem statements, observations, interviews, and recommendations. It helps document the information needed to further analyze the issue and give a solution to the problem. This would help managers in evaluating the issue especially when it happens again in the future.
A Gemba walk checklist is used by leaders to observe the workplace and gain first-hand insight regarding safety and productivity. It would help the organization implement continuous improvement and determine if processes are being performed according to standards. This template would help identify problems and record recommendations on how to mitigate the issue.
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.
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