What does the word Gemba actually mean?

What does Gemba mean

We’re often asked what the meaning behind our name Gemba is. In simple terms it represents where the action is happening.

Here we explore the history and Japanese connotations surrounding the word a little deeper, along with why it’s so important both to us and our clients.

Defining a name

What does Gemba mean

Our software business began as a group of passionate Control Engineers who wanted to define a clearer path to performance improvements for operators.

We needed a name that symbolised who we were, what we stood for and what we could offer clients and found the Japanese term Gemba worked well.

“At the time, lean manufacturing principles from Japan such as the Toyota Production System, were gaining traction outside of motor manufacturers and a name was chosen from the associated lexicon,” Carl, our Product Development Manager, said.

“Gemba is Japanese for ‘site’ or ‘scene’, which is the place where the action is happening.”

Going to Gemba

What does Gemba mean

The literal translation for Gemba (現場) is ‘the real place’ and in business it refers to the real place where value is created, such as the factory floor.

The common phrase ‘Going to Gemba’ represents managers visiting the shop floor to observe, learn and understand what is happening across every level of their business.

This idea of insight and understanding is a huge part of what we believe in at Gemba Solutions, that making informed decisions to empower your workforce will result in continuous improvement.

The Gemba Walk

What does Gemba mean

The purpose behind a Gemba Walk isn’t to point out employees’ faults but to encourage greater transparency, trust and communication between leaders and workers on the shop floor.

To ensure change for the good of the organisation (or Kaizen) is sustained, a clear understanding of the real place and experiencing the actual events first-hand is essential to those involved and influential to change.

The real place for continuous improvement

What does Gemba mean

So what do we say when asked why we chose our business name?

When we understood it’s meaning it said everything we do in one word. Our aim was to bring “The Gemba” to all who use our software and services to give clear insight and focus to their operational priorities in real-time, transporting them to the actual place from wherever they were located.

Clients who work with Gemba discover this real place for continuous improvement, by using real-time data to drive production efficiency.

Why not find out more about our story or contact our team to discover the real place for improvement for your business?