Gemba Walk Process by GKI

Why, How, and what of Gemba Walk:

Nowadays, the important lean tool of “Gemba Walk” is being used by many organizations, which are looking into improving their processes to achieve higher Productivity, Efficiency, and in-turn more Profit. So let’s discuss why it is crucial to conduct Gemba Walk, how it should be done, and what are the objectives and benefits.

Gemba Walk Process

Purpose: The purpose of Gemba Walk is driven from the Kaizen concept of “Genchi Genbutsu”, which encourages the management team to go to Gemba (the real place where value is created and the actual work is done) and see, hear, feel for themselves of how the work is performed. It enables leaders to ask about the practiced standards, gain knowledge about the work status, identify existing safety hazards, observe machinery and equipment conditions, and build relationships with employees.

Process: Obviously the first thing to do is taking a walk through Gemba and observing the operations. During the walk, the role of the leader is to identify any bottlenecks, sources of waste, or deficiency in the processes, and make a note of unsafe conditions. He/she needs to ask questions from the operators to gather data about the problem, thus becoming more aware of what is going on. Later on, these data should be used to solve the problems and to implement Kaizen projects.

Also, the leader has to build stronger relationships with team members through engaging them in conversation about the work processes and praising them for jobs well done. This will create a better sense of ownership in team members, due to being asked about their understanding of the work standards and how those could be improved upon and made more efficient.

Gemba Walk Consulting

Objectives & Benefits: The main objective is to move toward instilling a Lean culture throughout the organization and this is achieved by routinely utilizing Gemba Walk to:

  • Become aware of any existing abnormalities
  • Implement sustainable continuous improvement projects
  • Verify established standardized processes
  • Solve problems or correct errors
  • Deal immediately with hazardous and unsafe conditions
  • Create a more efficient and effective working environment
  • Develop “Lean Thinking” Team Members

In conclusion, Gemba Walk is an essential tool to move forward toward becoming a Lean organization, which will deliver low cost operations, high quality product, happy workforce, satisfied customers, and more profit.

Do an hour-long “Gemba Walk” with “Get Kaizened, Inc.” expert Lean consultants at No-Charge* to you and learn how to implement this important Lean tool. Contact us today.
*This offer is valid only for San Francisco Bay Area organizations until 2/31/2013. For organizations outside this geographical area contact us to get more information about this service. 

The major things to consider on a Gemba walk

The Gemba walk generally involves getting out in the workplace. It gives the leaders of the company, managers as well as supervisors a simple, reliable and easy way of giving support to an improvement structure as well as encouraging process standardization.

As a manager, getting up and being out of the office a number of times a day will help improve your productivity as well as the relationship with your own team.

Gemba

The influence of gemba is based on:
• Choosing a theme for every walk
• Questioning the supervisors regarding observed conditions
• Listening attentively
• Sharing what one has learnt in the gemba walk
• Publicly sharing what one has learnt by writing and then posting a short memo
• Following up in order to monitor the process

The major things to consider during the walk include:

1. General Housekeeping- This includes:

• Workplace clutter
• Unsafe conditions
• Poor lighting
• Adequate waste removal
• Clearly marked aisles, exits, walkways and all point-of-use areas.

2. High WIP concentrations

• At the point-of-usage
• Damaged product
• Up-stream and down-stream
• Old inventory tags
• Non-standard containers

3. Information and measures display

• Up-to-date information on the bulletin boards
• Workplace activity boards with up-to-date information

4. Equipment appearance

• Current visible maintenance records
• Leaks of oil, fluid, air, lubrication
• Main body is clean
• Guarding in position

5. In-plant office space

• Free of clutter
• Well organized

Gemba Walk
To get started with the Gemba walk, you need to have a discussion with your lean champions in order to establish the main focus of the walk. You have to ensure that you understand the expectations of the walk, when it is correct and when it is incorrect.
Just like any other new process, at first the Gemba walk can be confusing, difficult to perform and time consuming but one needs to be patient and also focused and the process will work for them and their company.