Gemba (also written as genba) is a Japanese word meaning “the actual place.” In lean practices, the gemba refers to “the place where value is created,” such as the shop floor in manufacturing, the operating room in a hospital, the job site on a construction project, the kitchen of a restaurant, and the workstation of a software programmer.
The term “going to the gemba” is described by the Japanese term “genchi gembutsu”
A popular approach in companies who implement lean principles is called “Gemba walks,” which denote the action of going to see the actual process, understand the work, ask questions, and learning from those who do the work (showing respect to them). It is an opportunity for management and support staff to break away from their day-to-day tasks to walk the floor of their workplace to identify wasteful activities. The objective is to understand the value stream and its problems, rather than review results or make superficial comments from their office or conference room.
- Gemba Walks by Jim Womack