Gemba is a leadership strategy developed by Taiichi Ohno as part of the Kaizen methodology. The Japanese word Gemba means ‘the real place,’ aka the most important place, where the real work happens, and the place where value is created. Management teams use Gemba walks as a tool to move past their assumptions of how the facility is running, and actually see for themselves.

  • Who: Gemba walks are traditionally carried out by the CEO and/or senior management team, but anyone not regularly on the shop floor (or wherever the walk is) can join.
  • What: Gemba walks typically follow a theme – a topic that needs to be addressed or an issue that needs to be solved.
  • When: It’s important to establish some level of frequency for Gemba walks. Having recurrent walks will not only show a strong level commitment from management, it will improve transparency and trust between frontline employees and leadership.
  • Where: The scope of a Gemba walk may be as wide or as narrow as the team finds necessary, meaning a walk might take place for 30 minutes in a single department or across an entire production line in a few days, it all depends.
  • Why: As part of Kaizen, Gemba fosters a culture of continuous improvement. It breaks down barriers in the workplace by providing the opportunity for conducive conversations.

During a Gemba walk, the team observes processes up close and asks employees thoughtful questions. What is going right? What has been going wrong? Why do you think that is? It is important these walks are not used to enforce policy or reprimand employees, but rather explore opportunities of improvement.

Gemba is a powerful tool and Creative Safety Supply is here to help your businesses get on the path of efficiency. Below you will find an extensive library on all things Gemba, so get a team together and start planning a walk. 

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Gemba Articles

Quality Control in Manufacturing

Quality Control in Manufacturing

Quality control in manufacturing is essential to maintaining a good customer base and keeping rework costs down.

Mass Production

Mass Production

Mass production is simply the manufacturing of a large number of identical or very similar products. This type of production has been around for a long time, and it has its advantages and disadvantages.

What is QCDSM?

What is QCDSM?

QCDSM: Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety and Morale. Learn how this simple lean principle can help your business.

8 Wastes of Lean

8 Wastes of Lean

The 8 Wastes of Lean is a much-needed update to the what the Toyota Production System called the 7 Wastes of Lean. Fighting these wastes head on will help your facility run more smoothly and efficiently.

Supply Chain Integration

Supply Chain Integration

Supply chain integration refers to the process of integrating all parts of fulfillment into one single system. Learn the steps to get your supply chain integrated into an easy-to-manage system.

What is a Thermal Printer?

What is a Thermal Printer?

Thermal printers are essential to printing in an industrial setting. Learn about the two types of thermal printing to determine which one suits your facility’s needs.

Learning and Implementing the Lean Process

Learning and Implementing the Lean Process

Learning the basics about the lean process is essential when implementing continuous improvement changes. We have broken down the lean process so its easy to understand.

How to Implement 5S in an Organization

How to Implement 5S in an Organization

It takes significant effort to implement a proper 5S program, but following the right steps will drive success and help the process go smoothly.

Genchi Genbutsu

Genchi Genbutsu

Genchi genbutsu, a Japanese term meaning “go and see,” can change how managers and company leaders interact with the workplace.

Gemba

Gemba

This Japanese word for "the real place" can change the way managers approach employees and their work.


Gemba Questions and Answers

Can Gemba be used for safety?

When learning about Gemba, much of the focus is on process and procedure improvement. This is obviously very important as it will help to ensure things are done in the best possible way, which eliminates waste and maximizes profits for the company. People often ask whether Gemba walks can also be used to improve safety.… 

What is Gemba Kaizen?

You may have heard of the Gemba walk, and the strategies behind it. And you may have heard of Kaizen and its ability to facility continuous improvement of a facility. But have you heard of Gemba Kaizen? This is a great strategy where a company takes advantage of Gemba walks and related activities to help… 

Why should I use Gemba?

Gemba walks have become increasingly popular over the past generation, which has led many more people to look into this interesting system. Many people wonder why it should be used, and what makes it better than something like ‘management by walking around’ or even just spending time on the shop floor. There are many reasons… 

How often should Gemba walks take place?

Once you learn about Gemba walks and how beneficial they can be, you may begin to wonder how often they should be performed. If they are done too infrequently, you won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits that they can provide. If you do Gemba walks too frequently, however, they can begin to… 

Who should go on a Gemba walk?

Gemba walks are a great way to learn more about specific areas of the workplace, come up with improvement ideas, increase safety, and much more. There are many different people in a facility that can, and should, go on this type of walk. Depending on the role that a person has with the company, they… 

What questions should I ask on a Gemba walk?

Asking questions of the people who you see on a Gemba walk is one of the best and most important ways to get the information you need. There are times, however, when it can be difficult to come up with the right questions. The following are good questions that will help you to get started… 

What is a Gemba walk used for?

Gemba walks have been growing in popularity over the past several decades, and today they are used in just about every industry imaginable. A Gemba walk is still most popular in the manufacturing industry, but the same concepts can be used in almost an environment, including outside of the workplace. When starting to learn about… 

How can I conduct a Gemba walk?

Gemba walks are a great way for management and other leaders in a company to get a first hand look at how things are done, and to come up with new ideas or solutions to problems. A real Gemba walk, however, is more than just getting out of the office and walking around the facility.… 

How can I implement Gemba walks?

If you have recently learned about Gemba walks, you may be wondering how to best implement them into your workplace. One of the many nice things about this workplace improvement strategy is that it is extremely easy to perform. It is also very flexible so it can be modified to meet the particular needs of… 

What is the origin of Gemba?

The concepts behind Gemba were first developed in Japan. In Japanese, the word Gemba means ‘the actual place,’ and is used in a variety of situations. The police often call a crime scene the Gemba, and news reporters may say that they are checking in live from the Gemba. When it comes to workplace improvement,… 

What is a Gemba walk?

Workplace improvement is an important responsibility for managers, executives, safety professionals, and others in the facility. Whether working on coming up with new ideas for improvement, or working on how to implement ideas, people often end up talking about the issues far more than taking action. To help solve this problem, many companies use a… 

What does Gemba mean?

Gemba is a Japanese term that translates to ‘the real place.’ When used in the context of workplace improvement or increased efficiency, the Gemba is the place where actual work is done. For example, in a factory setting, the Gemba would be where the machines and other equipment are putting together the products. It is… 

How is Gemba related to Lean manufacturing?

The goal of Lean manufacturing is to minimize the amount of waste that is produced within a facility. This would apply to any type of waste including wasted time, energy, excess pieces or parts, and much more. Gemba is a process where managers go out to the shop floor to analyze how things are done,… 

How does Gemba solve problems?

The Gemba concepts are a great way to encourage managers to get out to the places where they manage and learn more about how things are done. If it isn’t used specifically to identify and solve problems, however, there would be little difference between Gemba and the concepts of ‘management by walking around.’ Fortunately, Gemba… 

When should Gemba walks be conducted?

The term Gemba is translated as, “the real place,” which indicates that a Gemba walk should be conducted in the areas where the actual work is being done. This is a pretty broad area, however, and it doesn’t explain how these walks should be coordinated to ensure you get the best results possible. The specific… 

What is a Gemba event?

Gemba walks would be a big waste of time if you never took any action based on the information and ideas that were gathered. After a walk is completed, you will want to plan Gemba events that will make use of this information. Gemba events can also be called Kaizen events if your facility is… 

How is 5S related to Gemba?

5S and Gemba are technically two different strategies that are used by businesses to make improvements. 5S is generally focused on waste reduction and elimination, and Gemba is more of a strategy to gather information that can be used to make improvements in the facility. While they don’t initially seem to have too much in… 

What are tools to use in the Gemba process?

When most people think about Gemba, they start by looking at Gemba walks. While that is the main activity that is being done, you will need to have quite a few different tools in place to help ensure it goes smoothly. There are also tools that are used to help track and use the information… 

What is a Gemba board?

A Gemba board is one type of tool that is used when attempting to keep track of the current status of the workplace. It is a visual management tool that helps you to be able to see the status of a variety of different types of tasks at a glance. Opening Communication One of the biggest benefits… 

Gemba Infographics

Gemba: A Powerful Piece of your Lean Toolbox

Gemba: A Powerful Piece of your Lean Toolbox

Gemba – A Powerful Piece of Your Lean Toolbox Gemba is a straightforward way for business owners and managers to find… 

Gemba Podcasts

Respect For People is a crucial part of lean and A3. Lean guru Bill Greider tells how A3 teams can… 

Kaizen events that rock—time to increase efficiency in your organization! Lean/Six Sigma expert Mark Hamel tells of how to implement… 

This is the story of tragedy that could have been avoided with better safety housekeeping. Here, we detail a fatal… 

Gemba Guides

 

Gemba Products

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