The Benefits of Gemba Walk

The word ‘Gemba’ is being increasingly heard across corporate board room meetings these days. With companies around the world trying to bring down production costs, it is not surprising that they are looking at systems and procedures that would enable them to do the same. Gemba Walks, which were once popular only in Japan, from where the concept originated, have now been adopted globally.

There are several ways in which Gemba Walks benefit an organization. For one, it allows the managers to quickly identify problems on the shop floors. What this means is that all those small problems that could have proven detrimental to the production process can be plagued. In a way the process also helps in fostering team bonding among the various associates. Not only do they get to communicate on a regular basis with their senior officials but also get to share their point of view. Such brain-storming usually leads to proliferation of innovative ideas which could further help in boosting productivity.

Gemba

The Gemba Walk also forces managers out of their cabins and out into the shop floor. A lot of times managers are not aware of the practical difficulties being faced by associates on the shop floor. This in turn could lead to communication gaps. However, if the manager were to visit the shop floor on a regular basis, they would get first hand information on the problems.

Another key, but often not mentioned benefit of Gemba Walk is the way in which it leads to psychological benefits. It shows to the associates that the manager who is talking the walk goes through the reviews on the ‘Visual Metric’ boards. By demonstrating his or her interest on the figures that are present on the board, the manager is in a way telling the associates that they are important for the progress of the organization and are playing a key role in the process.

What this in turn does is to increase the focus of the associates. In several companies it is struggle to keep the productivity levels of associates’ high day in and day out. However, by encouraging them to come out   with their suggestions and by making them feel important, a level of motivation is achieved which in turn helps in keeping them focused on their jobs.

However, managements of organizations need to remember that only the Gemba Walks are not enough to improve productivity. They are in no way a replacement to the regular production meetings. They are only complimentary to such meetings. A production meeting is the place where more serious issues can be taken up for discussion and results arrived at for the betterment of the organization.

Moreover, managers who are undertaking the Gemba Walks need to remember that it is always better to criticize an individual in private rather than in public. While constructive criticism can be given, it is preferable that it is given in private rather than in full public glare. Managers could however praise their associates in public as it would only further motivate the individual to perform better.

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    5S Training: The Best Way To Do It

    Best Way to do the 5S Training
    Before implementation of the 5s method, it is important to train your employees first. The best way to do this is to conduct an in-house training course. In this set up, the trainers will be able to train and coach them at the same time. Employees will surely learn faster with this set up because they learn the concepts while practicing them at the same time.

    What is the 5S?
    5S is a method of workplace organization that was started by the Japanese. This method describes how to design a workplace for effectiveness and efficiency. This is done by identifying the items used and storing them properly, maintaining the cleanliness of the area and the functionality of the items, and sustaining the changes made. A dialogue on standardization comes with the decision-making process. This builds understanding among the employees.

    It is a list of 5 Japanese words starting with the letter “S” namely: 
    Seiri
    Seiton
    Seiso
    Seiketsu
    Shitsuke

    When translated or transliterated into English means:
    Sort
    Straighten
    Shine
    Standardize
    Sustain

    5S Training

    Why is 5S Training important?
    The 5s training is essential before applying the 5s principles in the workplace. This prevents employees from being “shocked” with the sudden change. This training is also important before implementing the lean principles. 5S training is the common first step taken by companies because of it is easy and simple to implement.

    The pioneers of the 5S method believe that the over-all cleanliness and organization of the workplace has a positive effect to the productivity of the employees. They also believe that a well-kept and organized working environment can motivate people to work harder. This method represents an organized and systematic approach for safety and quality improvement, and productivity in any type of business.

    The 5S training program aims to create visual order, cleanliness, standardization and organization in the office environment. The training also aims to simplify the work place, reduce waste and non-value activities while at the same time keeping in mind the safety of the workers.

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      What Are The Lean Office Principles

      Because of the similarities in the process of production, the lean principles made its way from the manufacturing sector to the corporate world.

      Here are the some of the lean principles applied in the office setting:

      It all begins with leadership
      Leaders serve as the foundation of all the efforts when a lean office is built. They develop the strategies to achieve the organization’s goals and create a vision for the company.
      Leaders should recognize the value of employee satisfaction and create a team that is empowered and motivated. They are needed to successfully establish a lean office.

      Goals and Metrics are required
      Metrics are needed to assess the impact of the change in the office. Goals, on the other Lean Officehand, keep the team focused on a target. This will help them work harmoniously with each other.

      A Standardized process is to be followed by everyone
      A standardized process makes it easier to make improvements. The team should follow a clear process rather than their own preferences.

      Use the 5s
      Getting rid of clutter is important to reduce any waste or delay. Keeping things organized will ensure a smooth work flow. Things and people should be placed where they will be effective and efficient.

      Minimize WIP
      The major objective of lean is removing or minimizing work-in-progress to speed up the lead time, eliminate waste and create a consistent customer experience.

      Demand should be well understood
      The biggest challenge in establishing a lean office is understanding the different demands. Load leveling is used to smoothen the demand the team might experience.

      Use a daily management system
      This is perhaps the core of a successful lean office. The demand should be managed once it is figured out. Daily management takes into account the demand and provides the proper staffing for it. A proactive problem solving process is done if ever the team falls behind the plan.

      Continuous improvement is the key
      Continuous improvement is needed on a lean office. It takes years to develop an environment where there is minimal or no waste at all. Improvements should be made on a daily basis.

      Get Kaizened is a leading lean consulting and lean training firm in California providing Kaizen, lean management and lean manufacturing consulting and training services to clientele in different industries worldwide. For more information about our consulting and training solutions contact us today.

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