Gemba is a Japanese word that translates into ‘real place’ and involves activities such as Process Mapping and Brainstorming in the location where the process is operation and where the ‘action’ is!
In real terms it is observing the actual process in operation, talking to the actual people who work the process every day, understanding the actual process flow in real time, reviewing the actual performance data and then identifying real tangible Opportunities for Improvement.
Whilst Gemba Walks can be an enabler of a 5S Program or a Safety Improvement Program their use in the DMAIC of Lean Six Sigma would primarily be in the Measure Phase in terms of capturing the real, warts and all ‘As is Process’
P.S. Singing ‘Let’s go for a little walk’ whilst on your Gemba is not mandatory!!
Submitted by Éamon Ó Béarra
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