Gemba means in Japanese real place. A real place in lean manufacturing represents the place where value is created, the actual workplace. Sitting around a conference table, discussing data reports and theoretical solutions are not enough to achieve continuous improvement. Toyota implemented this methodology, to be in a permanent relationship with production, moreover to get feedback from employees, whenever they have difficulties to finish their tasks.
Through Gemba walk, team members identify areas where potential improvements might be made. Leaders, managers, supervisors are encouraged, to take a walk on the shop floor, observe and understand process steps before they came up with changes.
Gemba brings transparency in processes, and trust between the lower level of employees and leadership. In this way, leaders could recognize the value-added processes and find new ways of supporting employees. The following table presents the essential steps for a Gemba walk:
Feel free to download the Gemba Walk Sheet and customize it as you prefer.