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In the lean manufacturing paradigm, gemba (also spelled genba) refers to the factory floor where a product is made. The term originates from a Japanese word that means “the actual place.” Although its business usage origins are in manufacturing, gemba can also be used metaphorically. For example, in lean software development the gemba is the physical or virtual location where developers work and interact. The lean paradigm encourages managers to go on “gemba walks” to observe the manufacturing process in action.

What Small and Midsize Businesses Need to Know About Gemba

Small and midsize businesses looking to implement the lean methodology should reflect on the idea of gemba. By conducting gemba walks on a regular basis, managers can better understand their employees, identify improvement areas, and facilitate growth.

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