Kaizen is the philosophy of continuous improvement and Gemba (sometiems called Genba) is a tool supporting those efforts. Going to the Gemba means going to the real place; essentially managers learn and make decisions by observing work processes up close and talking to those working on the frontline. Kaizen emphasizes employee involvement from all levels and taking a Gemba walk facilitates that involvement.
A manager can take a Gemba anywhere in the facility whether it’s a work cell, a part of the production line, or a department as a whole. There are no set rules on who can participate in the Gemba walk and managers and supervisors may find it beneficial to include operators or employees from other teams. A Gemba walk can be taken for problem solving, improvement ideas, or just to evaluate how work is flowing through the facility.
Have you ever conducted or participated in a Gemba walk? If so, please share your experience below! What would you want changed for the next walk, what were the successes, and what maybe didn’t go quite as planned?