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Gemba Boards - Are They a Useful Tool Essay

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Gemba Boards – Are They a Useful Tool?

In today’s globalized economy with competition coming from all parts of the world, it is essential for a company to eliminate waste for sustainable success.   One philosophy for eliminating waste is Lean Manufacturing.   Defined as “an operation that strives to achieve the highest possible productivity and total quality, cost-effectively, by eliminating unnecessary steps in the production process and continually striving for improvement”.(1cite) “The concept of Lean was developed by Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno (1912-1990)”.(2cite) “Mr. Ohno identified the seven types of MUDA (waste) as Transport, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-Processing, Overproduction, and Defects”.(cite3) I have been involved with Lean Manufacturing for roughly eight years in various companies and industries and have used different tools to track and communicate whether or not the lean processes that were implemented were working.   One such tool is a Gemba meeting utilizing a SQDIP board.   I have been involved in Gemba meetings using similar types of communication boards in the past, but mostly due to lack of support from upper management, maintaining the information would just dissipate after a short period of time.   I had never really been engaged and committed to the process to ensure it was successful.   Either I felt it was just another responsibility that was put on my already full plate or I failed to see the value that it added to solving the issues we faced on a daily basis on the floor.   That was until my new employer, a pump manufacturing company, asked that I hold a Gemba meeting and implement a SQDIP board in my department to communicate the daily issues, come up with action plans to find solutions to fix the problems and ultimately increase productivity.   It was then that I decided, instead of going through the motions, I would do some research and do my part to make this successful, but I still questioned if this was a useful tool or...

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