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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Gemba:   The Japanese term for "actual place," often used for the shop floor or any place where value-creating work actually occurs; also spelled genba.  The term often is used to stress that real improvement requires a shop-floor focus based on direct observation of current conditions where work is done. For example, standardized work for a machine operator cannot be written at a desk in the engineering office, but must be defined and revised on the gemba. More »
Gemba Walk:   A management practice for grasping the current situation through direct observation and inquiry before taking action.   Gemba means “actual place” in Japanese. Lean Thinkers use it to mean the place where value is created. Japanese companies often supplement gemba with the related term “genchi gembutsu” -- essentially “go and see” -- to stress the importance of empiricism.   Because value flows horizontally across companies to customers, a productive way to take a gemba walk is to follow a single product family or product design or customer-facing process from start to finish across departments, functions, and organizations, according James Womack, author of More »
Gemba Walking on Mars
By: José R. Ferro | November 5, 2015
Lean is all around us in our daily lives - including at the movies, as Lean Institute Brasil president Jose R. Ferro found out during a recent screening of "The Martian," starring Matt Damon. Find out what he noticed. More »
Gemba, workplace, genchi genbutsu, go-and-see ... What’s the difference?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 14, 2015
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a difference between “gemba” as used in lean texts and “genchi genbutsu” as they appear in Toyota literature? More »
Gemba Walks: Are You Going To See or To Be Seen?
By: Dave LaHote | August 19, 2014
"Supervisors talked about the significant improvements they were making as a result of kaizen events," writes Dave LaHote, "But all I noticed was workers trying to keep up with a production process that looked out of sync, plagued by problems that got in the way of them being able to perform their jobs well.  " Read more. More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition
By: Jim Womack | October 22, 2013
A collection of engaging, entertaining, and insightful essays by Jim Womack, based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays in sectors such as healthcare and government. More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition (eBook)
By: Jim Womack | October 22, 2013
A collection of essays by Jim Womack based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays in sectors such as healthcare and government. More »
Gemba and Quality
By: Balle, Michael | February 1, 2012
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve made good progress on quality with Six Sigma, but we’ve reached a plateau. I’ve met a lean consultant who tells me I should spend more time on the shop floor, but I fail to see how it would improve quality? More »
Gemba Walk Checklist
By: Jim Womack | July 13, 2011
Columns; eLetters
Jim responds to this question from his Gemba Walks webinar: “Do you find it easier to complete your Gemba Walk if you have a pre-defined form to take with you on the walk?” More »
Gemba-Based Leadership – Not Just for Chief Engineers
By: Shook, John | February 10, 2009
Columns; eLetters
John Shook on gemba-based leadership More »
Gemba Walks - A Management Process for Leading the Organization
This opening paragraph of the introduction of Jim Womack’s latest book, "Gemba Walks," is the starting point for a gemba-based learning experience designed to help participants better understand their role in creating lean thinking through lean management led by their own behavior in “taking a walk.  ” More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition (audiobook)
By: Jim Womack
Audio; Books
A collection of engaging, entertaining, and insightful essays by Jim Womack, based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays in sectors such as healthcare and government. More »
What I Learned by Coaching at the Gemba Virtually
By: Mark Reich | June 23, 2020
Lean Coach Mark Reich shares an example of how lean thinking is itself continually renewed, as leading practitioners use it to solve new problems. More »
Developing Awareness On the Gemba (part 2)
By: Sandrine Olivencia | April 15, 2020
In this followup to her article on ways to develop awareness on the gemba, Lean Coach Sandrine Olivencia argues that it is important to have clear intentions in mind before visiting (and disrupting) teams in their workplace in order to create more value and less damage. More »
Should I be worried that management is buying software for virtual gemba walks?
By: Michael Ballé | March 2, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: A consultant is selling us “virtual gemba walks” software to schedule gemba visits with a “leader standardized work” checklist and key indicators tracking. Management is listening. It feels wrong somehow, but anything that gets management to pay attention is a good thing, right? More »
A Revelation at the Gemba
By: Josh Howell | September 5, 2019
Columns; eLetters
During my travels this summer, both personal and for LEI, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the Institute’s 20+ year history while thinking about my role in shaping its future. I’ve also been talking to many of you, the members of the Lean Community, taking advantage of community gatherings like the annual Designing the Future and Lean Coaching Summits, to better understand your current challenges. I’m also meeting with potential collaborators who can help further LEI’s mission of advancing lean thinking via thought-leading content, experimentation, coaching, and training.    More »
Reflections From Ten Years of Michael Ballé's Gemba Coach
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | August 30, 2019
Since his first Gemba Coach column of ten years ago, Michael Balle has consistently tied his advice to a faithful application of core Toyota Production System (TPS) principles, without demanding a mindless conformity to established practices or to commercialized frameworks, models, or any other packaging of the TPS dynamics as a product. More »
Feeling the Gemba Magic
By: Nicolas Chartier | July 19, 2019
After months of work at the gemba with his factory manager helping line workers grapple with problems, CEO Nicolas Chartier realized the true source of the recurring problems: himself. More »
Cultivating Intuition at the Gemba
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | January 28, 2019
Our trainers conditioned us to water the seed of experience and use it not just to fire-fight but rather be more predictive and value add with our time and how we taught others. We encourage each person to learn to trust their intuition enough to see through the process each day to ensure the purpose and accountability for standards and why we have them is known and bought into, not just a suggestion to do. More »
WLEI: Season 2 Ep. 1 Leadership at the Gemba with Scott Heydon and John Shook
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | November 5, 2018
Former Starbucks Executive and Senior Coach at LEI Scott Heydon, joined author and LEI Chairman John Shook for a last minute learning session at the Lean Coaching Summit. The response was so positive we've adapted it to be a podcast. More »
Will changing the standard for supervisors' morning gemba walks make them pay more attention?
By: Michael Ballé | September 24, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  We have a standard gemba walk for supervisors to check their areas every morning. I’ve noticed that after a while, they tick the box without really looking. Should I change the standard? More »
What is the hardest conversation you ever had during gemba walks?
By: Ballé, Michael | August 27, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: What is the hardest conversation that you have during gemba walks? More »
Sensing the Gemba
By: Mike Orzen and Tracey Richardson | August 10, 2018
The next time you show up at the gemba to do a “go and see,” take a personal assessment of your level of focus, presence and awareness. Choose any one of your senses to focus within first, so you can be 100 percent present to deeply sense what is going on with the people and work processes of the value stream. More »
Do I have the right attitude during gemba walks?
By: Michael Ballé | June 18, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I know if I have the right attitude during gemba walks? We’ve started doing those systematically, but I realize how many of our managers add to the pressure on associates rather than make things better, and maybe I do too. Any help? More »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make III
By: Lean Leaper | September 27, 2017
Mistakes are just a part of lean, even for leaders. Luckily they're also a great opportunity for improvement. Today three lean practitioners share mistakes they often see lean leaders make, plus the countermeasures to correct them. More »
It's All About the Mindset on Gemba Walks
By: Darren Walsh | August 17, 2017
Darren Walsh believes that there are few things more critical to a successful gemba walk than the right mindset. Do you have the right one when you Go and See? Read more and find out. More »
From the Forums: SHOULD You Sweat the Small Stuff on Gemba Walks?
By: Lean Leaper | August 16, 2017
It's inevitable that as we Go and See, we'll notice many small, barely-noticeable mistakes happening in the work. But how to handle those mistakes? They may be small, but they're still mistakes - and you don't want to be seen as ignoring them. Join the discussion in the comments section! More »
Your Gemba Isn't the Only Gemba to Walk
By: Aaron Hunt | May 31, 2017
We all know the critical importance of gemba walks in our organization. But what many of us forget is that sometimes visiting OTHER gembas can be just as value add as visiting our own. Aaron Hunt knows this well - in his latest Post, he shares two stories of how visiting someone else's gemba inspired him to improve his own. More »
How can we tell if gemba walks by our CEO are actually improving the business?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 14, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We’re instituting a program of gemba walks by our CEO. How will we know if we’re progressing? More »
"Too Busy to Walk the Gemba"
By: Chris Weisbrod | May 10, 2017
Chris Weisbrod of Catalysis explains why healthcare leaders often claim they're too busy to walk the gemba and shares a strategy for reversing that mindset. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make I
By: Alice Lee, Jim Luckman and Sammy Obara | April 18, 2017
Making mistakes is a natural part of lean thinking and practice. Here, three LEI faculty members share some common, yet easily avoidable mistakes made by lean leaders, as well as the countermeasures that can help resolve them. More »
What Too Many Lean Leaders Forget about Gemba Walks
By: Darren Walsh | April 13, 2017
Lean Coach Darren Walsh of the UK's Lean Enterprise Academy has seen many lean leaders make a troubling, yet highly avoidable, mistake on their gemba walks. Are you making that same mistake? Read his article and find out what it is and how to avoid it! More »
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