Gemba Kanri and Hoshin Kanri are two different approaches to management in the broadly understood trend of lean management. In each of them, processes and their improvement are viewed from a different perspective, but communication between employees at different levels is crucial in both cases.

The names of both methods are derived from Japanese. Hoshin Kanri, Pol. Hoshin – direction, Kanri – management is a strategic planning system created after the war in the country of the blooming cherry. The word Gemba, on the other hand, means “place of the event” / “place of actual work” and refers in the Lean Management concept to positions where value for the client is created. Although in the first approach, the medium- and long-term perspective of the entire organisation is adopted, and in the second – it focuses on individual tasks performed in the plant daily, both are of great importance in the continuous improvement of the company’s operations.

Hoshin Kanri, the implementation of strategic goals step by step

In this approach, the organisation’s top management sets a medium to a long-term goal. Then, it extracts the sub-goals contributing to its achievement and communicates them to the crew – so that everyone knows what path to follow and what to do in everyday work so that the strategy is finally implemented. As the achievement of the ultimate goal depends on the actions of line workers, it is essential to ensure that the goals are properly understood at all levels of the corporate hierarchy. Therefore, the draft policy is discussed at the successive levels of the structure from top to bottom – and the management decides on its final shape only after getting acquainted with the feedback from lower-level employees. The means of monitoring the degree of achievement of the accepted goals are periodic (weekly, monthly and yearly) checks on their achievement and the ongoing measurement of productivity.

Gemba Kanri, an improvement from positions to processes

Incident site management focuses on creating, maintaining, controlling and improving the standards of daily work. According to the principles of the TPS method, the first step in solving problems and eliminating waste should be a visit to the workplace, conversations with operators involved in the job and observing how they function. In “Gemba”, – ideas for improvement should also be tested through consultations with employees and practical tests. Thus, although the perspectives of Hoshin Kanri and Gemba Kanri are different, both methods should lead to optimising the company’s processes. Moreover, the exchange of information between line employees and managers is crucial.

Kanri Soft system – better access to data and more efficient communication

In line with the slogan “We digitize lean”, the Kanri Soft system is a set of tools supporting lean management. It has been designed to support both the achievement of strategic goals and to contribute to the ongoing increase in efficiency at workplaces. An expression of this aspiration is the individualisation of the content of panels and boards depending on their recipient. Among other things, by viewing the status of activities in the PDCA cycle, the pareto chart of deficiencies and the map of accidents, managers can track the implementation of partial goals that make up the achievement of strategic goals on an ongoing basis. On the other hand – operators have constant access to data on the degree of implementation of the production plan and have a tool for effectively communicating any irregularities to their superiors. According to estimates by Kanri Soft, the software allows the result to reduce the amount of time spent by production employees on activities that do not represent value for the customer by more than 20%.