Gemba is the Japanese term meaning “raja raja chozan” or the “real place”. In business, gemba refers to the place where the value is created; in manufacturing, gemba is the factory floor, It can be any “site” such as construction site, sales floor or where the service provider interacts directly with the customer.
In Lean Manufacturing the idea of gemba is that the problems are visible, and the best improvement ideas will come from going to the gemba, The gemba walk, much like MBWA or Management by Walking Around is an activity that takes management to the front lines to look for waste and opportunities to practice gemba kaizen or practical shop floor improvement.
In Quality management, gemba means the manufacturing floor and the idea is that if a problem occurs, the engineers must go there to understand the full impact of the problem, gathering data from all source. Unlike focus groups and surveys, gemba visits are not scripted or bound by what one wants to ask.
Glenn Mazur introduced this term in the Quality Function Deployment (QFD, a quality system for new products where manufacturing has not begun) to mean the customers’ place of business or lifestyle. The idea is that to be customer – driven, one must go to the customer’s gemba to understand his problems and opportunities, using all one’s senses to gather and process data.
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