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Gemba

According to Masaaki Imai, the author of 'Gemba Kaizen':

"Gemba in Japanese means the place where all activities are actually taking place; in other words, the place where value is added. In case of the manufacturing industry, gemba is the shop-floor; for the hotel industry, it is the place where the food is actually being cooked; and in case of the service industry; it is everywhere. Gemba is thus the most precious place for the management."

He thus exhorts managers to 'go to the Gemba'. Gemba also gets used as a prefix for things that happen on the shop floor. Imai describes Gemba Kaizen, continuous improvement on the shop floor, thus:

"The key is to be inquisitive. If I, as a manager, notice a leak in one of the machines I must be able to track down the problem. I must know that the leak is because of a gap, that the gap has been caused by the vibrating action of the machine. And that the vibration has caused two specific screws to loosen and cause the gap. The solution could be in tightening those two screws every morning before the machine is started. Thus, avoiding the possibility of a leak."

Another Gemba is the 'Gemba-Cho' is a 'working foreman', a kind of on-the-job teacher, whose job is to both do a job and also train other people in the job.

See also:

Kaizen

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