In order to truly understand a situation one needs to go to gemba (現場) or, the ‘real place’ – where work is done. I got this term from a book I am reading now “The LEAN Startup by Eric Ries. It’s surprising how I am indulging in reading books now; I hardly finished any books and I prefered reading articles with pictures and bite-sized content. Currently, I am fueling my interest in entrepreneurship. The importance of basing strategic decisions on firsthand understanding in my life has taught me to ‘go and see for myself’. This adds to the deep first hand knowledge that can only be executed by doing. I like how this picture portrays the perception of “Go and See”, an awesome shot by Mr Richard Seow (Chairman, SportSG). As I wait for my final race of the 28th SEA Games, the Men’s 4x100m. I am there ready on track for the race to begin…
I would say I am an experiental person, I need to plough my hands in the field for example: in order to agree with a sign that say ‘HOT! Don’t touch!’, I would test to see if it is really that hot. I like to answer the questions in my head, often resulting in me experimenting with the parameters I have set for myself. It has helped me in Athletics, pushing myself at trainings.
The term Genchi Gembutsu goes deeply rooted in Toyota’s Production System. Jeffery Liker, who has extensively documented the ‘Toyota Way’, explains it this way;
“In my Toyota interviews, when I asked what distinguishes the Toyota Way from other managment approaches, the most common first response was genchi gembutsu – whether I was in manufacturing, product development, sales, distribution, or public affairs. You cannot be sure you really understand any part of any business problem unless you go and see for yourself firsthand. It is unacceptable to take anything for granted or rely on the reports of others”.
In a nutshell, what the Toyota Production Sytem shares with us is that Value is always defined by the customer. Not the factory’s shareholders, not the research and development division, but the guy who writes the check. “An engineer might think that Beethoven’s Ode to Joy sounding each time the car’s doors are unlocked is a must, but if most drivers are fine with the good old chirp or find the feature annoying, none of the engineering, material or labor that went into the project added any value to the car and they were therefore nothing more than waste. Value is anything that a customer is willing to pay for. Japanese companies have a unique way of exploring the unknown, they have a set of disciplines that they adhere to and the tradition carrying on will be timeless.”
My current timepiece sponsors; Casio. has been established since 1946. Casio’s corporate creed is “creativity and contribution”. It expresses the company’s commitment to contributing to society by offering the kind of original, useful products that only Casio can. Such products include timepieces, cameras, pianos, calculators and so on.
Both Toyota and Casio where at the real place where work is done; creating products and technology from scratch, pushing their boundaries making it a global brand. I have so much to learn from them in terms of personal branding and timeless relevance. #GenchiGembutsu #CasioSg #GoandSee #ToyotaProductionSystem