Tuesday, April 13, 2010


GENBA or GEMBA is a Japanese word meaning "real place", where the real action takes place. In business, GEMBA is where the value-adding activities to satisfy the client are carried out.
Manufacturing companies have three main activities in relation to creating money: developing (designing), producing and selling products. In a broad sense, GEMBA means the sites of these three major activities.
In a narrower context, however, GEMBA means the place where the products are made.
The term is often used to stress the that real improvement can only take place when there is a shop-floor focus on direct observation of current conditions where work is done, e.g., not only in the engineering office.

Five Golden Rules of Gemba
Masaaki Imai promoted Kaizen to people outside Japan through his two highly acclaimed books:
  1. Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success.
  2. Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management
He preaches the Five Golden Rules of Gemba, the first of which is 'When a problem (abnormality) arises, go to gemba first'. So what's gemba? It's the shop floor, or equivalent. Once there, you apply Golden Rule Two: check with gembutsu (relevant objects). Three: take temporary counter-measures on the spot. Four: find the root cause. Five: standardize to prevent recurrence. Standardization is the managing part of getting good gemba. You also need good housekeeping (Imai is very keen on cleaning machines) and muda, the elimination of waste. But all hinges on getting away from your desk. Obey the master Imai. GO TO GEMBA!

Similarity between 3 Gs and MBWA
The 3 G's (Gemba, Gembutsu, and Genjitsu, which translate into “actual place”, “actual thing”, and “actual situation”).
In the early days of Hewlett-Packard (H-P), Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett devised an active management style that they called Management By Walking Around (MBWA). Senior H-P managers were seldom at their desks. They spent most of their days visiting employees, customers, and suppliers. This direct contact with key people provided them with a solid grounding from which viable strategies could be crafted.

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