6.4. Genchi Genbutsu

The fourth philosophical value that is ingrained at Toyota is genchi genbutsu, which means, "go and see things for yourself, firsthand." At the St. Petersburg conference mentioned earlier, Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho explained the concept of genchi genbutsu simply as, "Have you seen it?" The inference is that if you have not seen something firsthand, then your view of that thing is not credible. This kind of thinking is especially ingrained in top executives, who feel proud to be the first ones to ask, "Have you seen it?" Chairman Cho comes to grips with the reality of the Russian market by visiting a factory and a dealership while in St. Petersburg. He, nds respect not by talking about genchi genbutsu, but by walking the talk.

Genchi genbutsu infers that the root causes of problems are revealed by on-site investigation and inquiry. The following story is told over and over again at Toyota to illustrate the spirit of genchi genbutsu. One day, Kiichiro Toyoda was walking through the vast, Toyota plant. He encountered a worker scratching his head and muttering that his grinding machine wouldn't work. Kiichiro took one look at the man, rolled up his sleeves, and plunged his own hands into the oil pan, coming up with two handfuls of sludge. Throwing the sludge on the floor, he said, "How can you expect to do your job without getting your hands dirty!" []

Genchi genbutsu encourages people to try to solve problems with their own hands. Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota's ...

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