Monday, 1 December 2008

Genchi Genbutsu

Genchi Genbutsu is a new expression for me. It was posted in a discussion board, as relevant experience for anyone in O.R.. The wikipedia summary is:
Genchi Genbutsu (現地現物) means "go and see for yourself" and it is an integral part of the Toyota Production System. It refers to the fact that any information about a process will be simplified and abstracted from its context when reported. This has often been one of the key reasons why solutions designed away from the process seem inappropriate.

I don't know why there is so little literature drawing on the parallels between Genchi Genbutsu and practical O.R.; good O.R. requires the modeller to understand what is happening in practice, and you do not learn that by sitting in an office. I suppose that there are eqivalent expressions in English -- "go and see for yourself", "management by walking around", "walk the line". But too many managers (and a few O.R. people) rely on second-hand information.

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