Gemba is a Japanese term that has different meanings with respect to the different professions it is referring to. For instance, Japanese detectives would refer to a crime scene as the Gemba. In a business situation, the Gemba refers to the location or area in which value is created and maximized.
Glen Mazur initiated the use of the term Gemba in quality function deployment. The idea behind its application was for a business to go to the place where the customer was or his Gemba. Here, the seller could maximize the value of his product by identifying the needs or problems that a customer faces. These needs can then be converted to opportunities for the seller and his business. In this way, the business becomes consumer-oriented rather than production oriented.
The Gemba walk is practiced in order to raise the value of the business. It entails walking into the office and identifying opportunities or wasted resources. The walk enables these top officials to promote a healthy improvement structure and a sustainable standardization process.
The walk might involve taking note of the general housekeeping in the office. Here, the official might identify if there is proper or improper waste removal. He should also be able to identify if there is any clutter in the workplace.
Another aspect would be the display of information to the workers. A point to consider here is whether the bulletin boards have up to date information. Also, he should note if the bulletin boards are well maintained. Irrelevant or outdated postings on the bulletin board should be removed in order to ensure that proper communication is achieved between the management and the subordinates.
Also to be considered would be the general appearance of the equipment. The manager should locate any leaks such as oil leaks. He should ensure that the maintenance records of the equipment are available and they are current.