The Gemba Template

This Gemba Template is a structured framework used in Lean and Six Sigma methodologies for process improvement. The term "Gemba" is a Japanese word that means "the real place" or "where the action happens." In a business or manufacturing context, it refers to the actual location where work is performed, processes are carried out, and value is created. The Gemba Template helps teams and organizations systematically observe, analyze, and improve processes by going to the actual workplace and gaining a deep understanding of operations.

Riaan Du Plooy | Author Level 5

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What you will learn

  • Gemba

  • Show Respect

  • Ask Questions

  • Any part of the business

  • Direct observation

  • Gemba walks

  • Observe

  • Operations

  • The Real Place

  • Continuous Improvement

The template includes the following components:

Purpose and Objective: Clearly state the purpose and objective of the Gemba visit or observation. What specific process or area are you focusing on, and what do you aim to achieve through this exercise?

Date and Time: Record the date and time of the Gemba visit. This ensures that the observations are contextually relevant and can account for variations due to time of day or day of the week.

Team Members: List the team members or individuals participating in the Gemba visit. Include their roles and responsibilities within the team.

Process Map: Create a process map or diagram that illustrates the workflow, steps, and key activities of the process being observed. Use symbols, arrows, and annotations to depict the flow.

Observations: Document detailed observations of what you see and experience during the Gemba visit.
Focus on the following aspects:
Workflow: How work flows through the process.
Cycle Time: The time it takes for a product or service to move through the process.
Bottlenecks: Any points where work queues or accumulates.
Waste: Identify any forms of waste, such as overproduction, defects, waiting, excess inventory, etc.
Standardization: Note if there are standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place and if they are followed.
Safety: Observe safety practices and conditions in the workplace.
Data Collection: If applicable, collect data related to key performance indicators (KPIs) or process metrics during the Gemba visit. This data can provide quantitative insights.

Gemba Walk Notes: Summarize key insights, findings, and issues observed during the Gemba walk. Include any opportunities for improvement that become apparent.

Photographs or Sketches: Use visuals like photographs or sketches to illustrate important aspects of the Gemba visit, such as layouts, workstations, equipment, or areas of concern.

Recommendations: Based on your observations and analysis, propose specific recommendations for process improvements or changes. These recommendations should be actionable and address the identified issues or opportunities.

Follow-up Actions: Outline the follow-up actions to be taken, including responsibilities and timelines. Who will be responsible for implementing the recommendations, and by when?

The Gemba Template serves as a structured framework for teams to conduct Gemba walks, which are essential for understanding and improving processes at the grassroots level.
By physically visiting the workplace and engaging with employees and processes, organizations can uncover inefficiencies, reduce waste, and optimize operations.
The Gemba philosophy emphasizes the value of direct observation and continuous improvement, making it a fundamental practice in Lean and Six Sigma methodologies.

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Meet Your Instructor

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Author Level 5
121 Courses
About Instructor

Riaan is a dynamic leader, coach, facilitator, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with over 20 years of hands-on experience driving business results. Riaan is highly skilled and has worked across diverse industries internationally. With a degree in Chemical Engineering, Riaan started in the major breweries and bakeries in South Africa and was so dedicated to his work that he was often known to take his work home with him.


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