Gemba means "on the floor". In Japan, production work is often referred to as 3K:
• Kiken - “dangerous”
• Kitanai - “dirty”
• Kitsui - “difficult”
The Gemba was considered a place where managers don't want to go as if they consider it a career's dead point. Today, on the other hand, the leaders and presidents of renowned Japanese companies have sufficient working experience in Gemba. Their insight on Gemba enables them to provide assistance at Gemba accordingly. Gemba is where the real work happens.
Focus of Gemba
Gemba walk or simply "Gemba" is a Japanese concept which focuses on adding customer-oriented value that needs to be incorporated in the product or service. It actually helps the company to thrive and prosper. The merger of Gemba and Kaizen is also known as Gemba Kaizen.
The different management layers comprise of top management, engineering persons, middle management and supervisors. They all exist to offer the required help and support to the work-site for operations. For that reason, Gemba should be the ground of all improvement initiatives and the origin of all information.
Hence, different levels of management must keep close contact with the realities of the Gemba so as to fix all problems arise there. Management help should begin from the particular needs of the worksite and that is where the role of Gemba comes in. When management does not acknowledge the Gemba, it tends to denounce the actual improvements on the worksite.