I recently came across an article introducing the Toyota production system twelve pillars operating the whole system efficiently and innovatively. One pillar, dubbed Genchi Genbutsu , left me deep impression.
Genchi Genbutsu, the long-standing practice of Japanese Toyota production system. A more intuitive understanding of it is “Go and see for yourself” in English. The basic idea beneath Genchi Genbutsu is to drag all leaders from their high perches down the ground production floor, so that they can actively engage with front-line workers, assembly line, production workflow. Whatever a potential problem arises, it can be solved shortly or at least alleviated ahead of time before becoming worse. Genchi Genbutsu creates a broader mix of minds bringing their talents, innovation, creativity together to speed up the company’s development, ignoring company’s organizational structure cliche.
However, the nature of this phrase is less about the physical act of onsite visiting but more to do with a personal understanding of the full implications of any action within an environment as a whole (from UK Toyota website).