Innovation in technology continues to rewrite the possibilities for business. This brings with it both threats and opportunity as disruptors rip-up the traditional rules of commerce, changing the way that manufacturing, supply chains and retail interact.
Coupled with the external pressures facing businesses today, firms must adapt to thrive.
But as they explore how they can do so, it’s useful to look at the experiences of others. In Japan, Gemba Process Innovation is being used to radically review, redesign and reinvent operations using technology to increase efficiencies and free-up creative potential.
Much-like the business philosophy of Kaizen that came before it, Gemba Process Innovation presents an opportunity to benefit European businesses. But rather than small, incremental continuous improvements that were inspired by Kaizen, Gemba Process Innovation takes a more transformative approach. It combines an in-depth understanding of the organisation and of the latest available technologies to deliver new methods of working.
The Gemba is the physical site where value is created. This Japanese word literally translates to "the actual place". For example, in the supply chain the Gemba is where things are made, moved, or sold. The factory floor, the warehouse, or points-of-sale are all referred to as the Gemba.
In Europe, Gemba Process Innovation has applications across many industries, but it is most obviously suited to manufacturing, logistics and retail industries. For example:
- In manufacturing – Gemba Process Innovation can accelerate automation with the use of technologies such as robotics.
- In logistics – it can provide the ability to sort, schedule, track and monitor the condition of goods using Deep Learning and sensor technologies connected via the Internet of Things.
- In the retail sector – it can be used to adopt AI and camera technology to drive personalised digital marketing, as well as automated stock re-ordering to optimise product availability on the shelves.
It starts with the knowledge of the employees
Of course, technology alone cannot solve these challenges. It starts by tapping into the knowledge of the people that understand the existing business processes best – the employees. Then comes the design of a new solution using technology and processes to deliver new levels of efficiency and productivity. Testing and optimising the solution then becomes the focus to ensure as much value as possible can be delivered from the innovation.
Gemba Process Innovation requires a combination of hardware, software engineering and system integration to provide the total solution. But by always focusing on the place where value is created, businesses have the potential to transform themselves to take advantage of the next wave of technological innovation on a global stage.
Find out more about Gemba Process Innovation from Panasonic, here.