Adoption of the word gemba has lagged behind adoption of the kaizen concept in the world. This is unfortunate but understandable; being present on the gemba can be a greater mind-set and behavior change than simply doing kaizen.

The Cambridge Business English Dictionary is one of a few sources, as of November 2011, to give the definition of gemba as an English word:

gemba

/’gemb/ noun

in Japanese business theory, the place where things happen

in manufacturing, used to say that people whose job is to

manufacture products are in a good place to make

improvements in the manufacturing process

This definition captures the spirit of gemba as it pertains to kaizen, but we must first understand gemba in its broader context beyond manufacturing.

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