Genba Kanri Systems

On the one hand we have tools and techniques which we apply to make work easier or more convenient – and in GK the work is that of accomplishing / managing the manufacturing process. On the other hand we have certain values and principles which we hold dear. What links the two? its no use an individual, or even a particular team figuring out their own best way of running the job if others go about things differently!

 We all saw  in Autumn 1999 how an incompatibility of imperial and metric measurements lead to the failure of a mission to the planet Mars. All on that NASA team were working to a common goal; all, undoubtedly, believed in Quality First, Speaking with Data, Process & Results – and even followed standards. The problem was that two different standards were used!

 In GK we ensure that the many standards which dictate what we have to do and how we have to do it (and who, when) are not only aligned, but mutually supportive. There is no point having a standard which says, for example, that operators shall determine their way of working, if there is another standard that says ‘direct’ employees have to account for every minute of their time in terms of parts/value processed. No point in having a standard for maintaining a machine if there are no personnel or opportunities to accomplish the maintenance. We cannot expect a job to be achieved in  standard time if there are non-standard materials or conditions prevailing.

A feature of GK systems is that they are ‘closed’ to reflect PDCA - the Plan - Do - Check - Action cycle. There are processes and results. As live data emerges on results we modify our processes in order to ensure that we can meet expectations – and improve upon them. The cycle is never-ending.

For example, we perceive a potential for people’s performance to improve. We educate them (with knowledge) and train them (through hands-on activity) so that they truly understand. We coach to ensure they’re on track. We then measure results to determine the change in behaviour. Are the trainees doing things differently – by how much? We need to measure not only their performance, but understand through questioning, observation and analysis what – for them – has made the difference. What didn’t make so much of an impact; why not? We then include more of what works well and less of the rest.

Why a training example? This is a fundamental aspect of GK. If we truly believe that ‘people are our finest asset’, then we have to nurture and develop them. We expect everyone to manage their own part of the business – according to standard practices – so it follows that we need to inform, educate and coach them in these practices.

A complimentary system provides a mechanism for skill evaluation:

 As the training system supports the skill evaluation system, so skill evaluation becomes essential for ensuring that we have the required skills to operate the production process, fulfill personal development and succession plans, accommodate new products and processes, and ultimately meet the business plan.


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