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The Gemba (現場) means Ground. Behind this simple word lurks a real culture of change and a profound change in the attitudes of each one in the organization of the company.


By definition, the Gemba, which means “ground“, is there:

  • Where the work is done!
  • Where the value is created!
  • Where are those who know!
  • where we solve problems!

Fundamental Notion in the implementation of Lean, the Gemba governs organization and behaviors.

Role and responsibility

Setting up a Gembaculture implies a fundamental change in the company’s ” Organization chart “:

  • The role of the coaching is to support the operators of the Gemba…
  • The role of support services is to assist the management and operators of the Gemba

The Gemba attitude: the Genchi Genbutsu

Traditionally, the Japanese synthesize the Gemba attitude by the terms Genchi Genbutsu (現 物) which means “to see on the ground by oneself” and translated by “go and see“. This is the central point of Lean culture and management system. Concretely, this results in meetings on the Gemba rather than in the offices, to observe in detail what is actually happening…

Evolutions show that we can talk about the rule of the 3 real, called San Gen Shugi (三現主義) and to describe the attitudes to have on the Gemba for problem solving1 :

  • Gemba: The real place, go on the Gemba, in the production where things really happen
  • Genbutsu: The actual Part, look at the Part having problems, analyze by comparison with a good Part
  • Gemjitsu: Reality, approaching reality with real, quantified data.


The WCM model speaks of 5g, and thus adds to the previous 3:

  • Genri: The theory, refer to the general documentation to understand the theory.
  • Gensoku: operational standards, application or improvement of working standards.


We also find an idea of management born in the United States under the term MBWA2 (Mmanagement By Walking ARound) which highlights the fact that managers have to go themselves See the reality of things on the Gemba .


1-R. Wilson, A. V. Hill (2014)-The Operations Management complete Toolbox

2-Y. Network (2008)-Processes and Companies 2.0: Innovate through collaboration and Lean Management

Mr. Ball, G. Beauvallet (2013)-The Lean management

T. Hinde (2008)-Guide to management ideas and gurus

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