The real place
Gemba means the “real place”. At the manufacturing level, the real place is the factory floor. According to Lean principles, problems are more visible in Gemba and better ideas for improvement are identified.
What is it about?
It’s about company executives, managers, supervisors, engineers or other employees, going to the factory floor and doing a Gemba walk, that is, following the process starting with the last stage of the value chain.
Gemba walking can be done once a month or every day, depending on the number of problems.
It is best to focus on a few issues at once and establish a list of priorities. If not, there is a good chance that the impact will be less efficient and that employees will be confused about what is in priority. If the Gemba march is done regularly and the intentions are clear and precise, then it will identify opportunities for improvement.
Gemba walking has no predefined approach. It’s about understanding the value chain and identifying issues by going back and forth while talking with employees. For small issues, it is even possible to directly improve them during the Gemba walk. It also involves learning about the state of machinery and equipment, learning about standard practices and getting in touch with employees while developing relationships with them.
The place of use of the consumer
At the design level, the Gemba also represents the place of use of the consumer. Users rarely know exactly what they need. It is therefore a question of observing the users in their environment. For example, to know the needs and constraints of a toaster, it is about observing users in their kitchen during the use of the device. The goal is to design products focused on the users.
Are you ready to go for a walk?