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.
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
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.