Jargon: Gemba

Gemba, in Japanese, means ‘the actual place’ or ‘the real place’. In business, gemba refers to the place where value is created; in manufacturing the gemba is the factory floor. Its use is extended in IT where the consultant is supposed to assist users at their place so as to make them comfortable with use of the system. It is also suggested that solutions to problems, improvements & ideas will come from going to the gemba.

Japanese detectives call the crime scene gemba, and Japanese TV reporters may refer to themselves as reporting from gemba. It can be any ‘site’ such as a construction site, sales floor or where the service provider interacts directly with the customer. 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 shopfloor improvement.