The Kaizen Blog

Attempts to continually improve in all walks of life

Gemba Kaizen®

with 3 comments


Gemba means “Work place”
Kaizen means “Continuous improvement”.
Muda means “Wasteful activity”

I came across an article in मराठी magazine about visit of Imai-san to the The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, for the workshop on Gemba Kaizen. Here are some of my thoughts on the article

Keep your Eyes Open

The workshop was planned as usual in a conference hall, but Gemba Kaizen has to do with the work place, so Imai-san took the participants to various parts of The Taj Hotel to explain the concept. He first visited a Laundry room, with a good view of Arabian Sea behind the The Taj, and suggests that the room with such a good view is being under utilized as Laundry room. So they convert this to one of the Guest rooms, and move the Laundry room to basement.

Supervisor also adds direct value

I liked one more anecdote from the article where Imai-san refers that India has continued with the British style of management, where the top executive doesn’t do the work himself (He used to be the British Officer, and workers were native people) Even after the independence, India has still inherited that style, at least in manufacturing sector. In Japan, everyone provides direct value add.

I can vouch for this myself, as part of my interaction with my colleagues in Japan. Irrespective of their position/designation, they are technically very savvy, and are very hands-on.

Not all Muda is bad

When Imai-san asked the Landry room to be converted to the guest room, the hotel staff was asked to make the change right away, rather than wait for a decision. The audience and Imai-san then moved to the Hotel Kitchen. After they were done at the Kitchen, they came back to check if the converstion was complete. It was not. So rather than checking back later, everyone waited there till the converstion was complete. In a way this was waste of everyone’s time, but it helped put pressure on other staff to fisnih the remaining activity within 30 minutes, which could have easily taken 90 minutes if everyone were not waiting.  Imai-san indicates that since their waiting helped achieve results faster, the Muda is not bad.

Image courtesy lenaibojcdruz (cc)


Written by Mandar Vaze

May 17, 2008 at 11:15 am

3 Responses

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  1. […] about visit of Imai-san to the The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, for the workshop on gemba Kaizen. … of St. Gallen – Welcome – Global Executive MBAGEMBA Global Executive MBA. Holzstr. 15a. […]


    June 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm

  2. do you have that article? i would like to read it


    November 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    • Chinmay – It has been five years. Most likely the article was in a print media. Else I would have linked to it right away. But of you google – you may be able to find relevant details (Even if not the article I mentioned above)

      Mandar Vaze

      November 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm

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