Gemba Kaizen, A commonsense approach to a continuous improvement strategy 2nd Edition


gemba-kaizenBook Title:  Gemba Kaizen, A commonsense approach to a continuous improvement strategy 2nd Edition

Author:  Masaaki Imai

Publisher:  McGraw-Hill

List Price:   US$ 40.00

Format:  Hard cover; 426 pages

Publication Date:   2012

ISBN: 978-0-07-179035-2

Reviewer:      Lakshmi Subramanian

Review Date:              December 2012

Introduction to the Book 

Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense approach to a continuous improvement strategy, is the Second Edition to author Masaaki Imai’s first book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success published in 1986. Most of us would have heard the term “Kaizen” – meaning continuous improvement. Gemba means the workplace, where all the action happens. The author has outlined the importance of Gemba Kaizen – continuous improvements in the workplace, where it matters. The Gemba Kaizen principles and philosophy are pretty much a way of life, which yields dramatic results, if done right. The book has several success stories which make it a very interesting read.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is divided into 14 chapters starting with an Introduction to Kaizen, Gemba Kaizen, the focus on Quality Cost Delivery in the Gemba, Standards – Setting and Improving, The 5 Steps of Workplace Organization, Muda (Waste), the Foundation of the House of Gemba – discipline, Visual Management, Roles of Supervisors and Managers, Just in Time (JIT) and Total Flow Management (TFM), The CEO’s role in Kaizen and Going to the Gemba. This is followed by Case Studies from several industries detailing what issues existed, and how Gemba Kaizen principles helped in improving and maintaining standards in everyday activities yielding high productivity, higher customer satisfaction, increased profits, reduced costs and other benefits.

Each of these chapters also discusses cases to elucidate the importance of the topic of discussion and where it applies. Most of the success stories are related to manufacturing industries; however, it is not difficult to draw parallels to the concepts in other industries.

Highlights: What’s New in this Book

This book gives information, examples, principles, guidelines, ideas and confidence that one can implement Gemba Kaizen at any workplace. The book prescribes a low cost, common sense approach to improving workplace performance on a whole in all areas. It is unbelievable how simple it is to just observe the Gemba and set standards and make improvements, provided there is buy-in and active participation by upper management. Gemba Kaizen requires a major change in mindset of the workforce at all levels, because it is not a short term effort and needs to be followed with discipline in order to maintain the standards. 


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About the Reviewer

lakshmi-subramanianflag-indiaLakshmi Subramanian

Lakshmi Subramanian, PMP, has 10 years of varied and valuable experience serving the IT and IT Enabled Services industry. She has a Bachelors in Commerce, Masters in Computer Applications and Diploma in Business Management and is a proud member of the Dallas PMI Chapter. Lakshmi is currently working as an IT Project Manager for a Telecom Major in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas, USA. Lakshmi can be contacted at [email protected].

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World Inc and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (www.pmidallas.org). Publishers provide books to PM World, books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter where they are given to chapter members who commit to providing a book review in a standard format; the reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  Since PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, they represent the intended audience for most PM books.  If you are an author or publisher of a book related to program or project management, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].