His answer was about as crystal clear as crystal clear can be. "Because that's where the money is."
What does this apparent genius have to do with LEAN thinking? I ask YOU: "Why do you NEED (not optional) to go to GEMBA?" The answer is........exactly the same as lean guru Willie Sutton's!!
This is one of the many, many LEAN commandments that seem to roll off the tongue and sound simple enough to execute. "Go to GEMBA (where the work is) and show respect." Interestingly, there don't seem to be many problems in the conference room, or in our office. Everything seems to be hunky dory, business as usual, just dandy, and that's exactly how we like it. When we eventually do go to GEMBA, the last thing we want to think or talk about (too busy for that) is problems. Now the lean guy is telling us we need to get out there as much as possible and show respect by asking open ended questions. Seems the lean guy thinks the people who do the "quote unquote" value added work are the experts, and the way he puts it, it almost feels like IT, Maintenance, the Senior Executive Vice Presidents, the Engineers and everyone else is overhead. ALL of these folks need to make regular trips to the GEMBA (standard work) so problems can be as visible as possible.