Genchi genbutsu and why 'seeing it for yourself' lets leaders make better decisions

Toyota has always believed that you need to go see something for yourself before you're able to understand a situation, to make the best decision possible. Here's why.

When was the last time you went out of your way to experience the everyday challenges your customers or your people face?

At Toyota, the concept of genchi genbutsu is ingrained into the culture, which Toyota themselves have translated to mean: ‘go to the source to find the facts to make correct decisions, build consensus and achieve goals at our best speed’.

This marks a key difference between Western and Japanese management styles. When there is a problem, a Western manager will diagnose and make decisions from a distance via reports, where a Toyota manager will go to the factory floor and see it for themselves.

One of the most extreme, but most successful examples of genchi genbutsu would be the story of Yuji Yokoya, a Toyota engineer who was responsible for the redesign of the Sienna minivan for the Americas in the early 2000s. Instead of relying on customer focus groups and reports, Yokoya decided he needed to experience driving through Canada, Mexico and the USA. 

Over two years he drove more than 85,000 km, forcing him to experience every condition that North America could throw at him, from windy, icy streets, to urban centres, and in places where roads barely existed. In a sense, he became the customer, giving him many insights:
  • [message]
    • Crossing the Mississippi River by bridge, Yokoya noted that the Sienna's crosswind stability needed improvement. He observed excessive steering drift while traversing gravel roads in Alaska, and the need for a tighter turning radius along the crowded streets in Santa Fe. Driving through Glacier National Park, he decided the handling needed to be crisper. He also made an all-wheel-drive option a priority, along with more interior space and cargo flexibility.

      Finally, he decided that the new Sienna would have to be a minivan that families, and especially kids, could live in for extended periods of time. Upgrading seat quality became a priority, along with “kid friendly” features such as a roll-down window for second-row passengers, an optional DVD entertainment centre and a conversation mirror so parents could monitor what was going on in the back seat.1
It was no surprise that when the revamped Sienna was released in 2004, it became a smash hit: sales were up 60% compared to the same time in 2003, even unseating American car manufacturers which traditionally dominated the market.

By using genchi genbutsu, Yokoya learned about what the customer needed firsthand, and was able to build something truly customer centric. Seeing things first hand is key to making sure a leader truly understands the situation, enabling them to make better fact and experience based decisions.

Comments

Name

5-why,8,advertising,8,amazon,4,analysis,14,anime,4,apple,1,aria,1,articles,15,asian business culture,7,Australia,6,bangkok,23,blackberry,6,business,11,case study,4,china,3,coaching,3,commentary,10,communication,2,consulting,2,corruption,1,cost cutting,1,creative commons,2,crisis,1,CSR,2,culture,7,customer service,4,deming,1,disruptive,2,download,12,editorial,47,education,2,entrepreneurship,8,environment,2,ethics,2,expatriate,2,fishbone diagram,2,food,2,genchi genbutsu,2,generation y,2,hansei,1,harvard business review,2,hong kong,7,Horenso,5,information,1,innovation,10,interesting clips,6,internet,2,iphone,3,IT Audit,1,japan,15,kaizen,28,korea,1,KPS Video Express,3,laos,4,leadership,1,lean,5,live in bangkok like a local,4,management,9,marketing,30,Melbourne,6,mieruka,11,movie,1,new year,5,obituary,2,opinion,35,opportunity,8,PDCA,9,personal reflections,5,photo essay,1,photo walk,1,photography,16,poster,1,project management,1,proposal,1,published,5,quality control,4,quotes,7,research,1,review,4,sales,2,saving money,1,segmentation,1,self reflection,1,shared,1,singapore,2,social media,1,software piracy,2,standard chartered,1,status,1,teaching,1,technology,19,telecoms,8,thai floods,12,thailand,27,the hong kong I remember,3,The Toyota Way,39,thought leadership,3,threat,1,toyota,8,toyota production system,39,travel,11,venice,1,Virtual Tour,1,Visuals,13,wallchart,1,wikicommons,1,Wikipedia,2,working,1,zarticles,11,
ltr
item
Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Genchi genbutsu and why 'seeing it for yourself' lets leaders make better decisions
Genchi genbutsu and why 'seeing it for yourself' lets leaders make better decisions
Toyota has always believed that you need to go see something for yourself before you're able to understand a situation, to make the best decision possible. Here's why.
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TwqApGtnApk/WxIizu9TQ6I/AAAAAAAAQAQ/VXB1G47aH7MUJofs83VrxslJLR1qgcWlQCLcBGAs/s640/IMG_9383.jpg
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TwqApGtnApk/WxIizu9TQ6I/AAAAAAAAQAQ/VXB1G47aH7MUJofs83VrxslJLR1qgcWlQCLcBGAs/s72-c/IMG_9383.jpg
Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
https://www.bulsuk.com/2018/06/genchi-genbutsu-and-why-seeing-it-for.html
https://www.bulsuk.com/
https://www.bulsuk.com/
https://www.bulsuk.com/2018/06/genchi-genbutsu-and-why-seeing-it-for.html
true
1176442693905561237
UTF-8
All posts loaded No posts found VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS No posts found Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share. STEP 2: Click the link you shared to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy