Gemba Walk Best Practices

Gemba Walks are an excellent tool used by successful organizations worldwide to optimize continuous improvement efforts. If you are just introducing Gemba Walks to your operations, or you are looking to take them to the next level, here are some tips that might help.

Gemba Walk Overview

Gemba walks are an increasingly popular management technique. A Gemba Walk Checklist is a tool used by management leaders to capture first-hand observations of what is exactly going on on the floor where work happens. The Gemba Walk Checklist helps document insights from discussions with employees and serves as a reference tool on how to improve processes and reduce existing waste.

By visiting the place where work is done, leaders gain valuable insight into the flow of value through the organization and often uncover opportunities for improvement and learn new ways to support employees.

The approach is a collaborative one, with employees providing details about what is done and why. Our customers usually execute Gemba Walks at least once a week per team, work area, shift, etc. The focus of Gemba Walks is to confirm all processes are governed by a documented SOP, to identify issues if any exist, and to collaborate on corrective and preventive actions if necessary.

Best Practice #1: Ensure your team is prepared.

Provide an overview of what Gemba Walks are, their value and how they are to be conducted. This will help to ensure that they participate in the program.

InfoBoxes can be used to provide staff with a quick overview of the Gemba program in the form of a video, photos, a presentation or even a simple written overview. And then use a Quiz to confirm they understand the information.

Best Practice #2: Use a template and standardize responses as much as possible.

Templates allow you to follow the value stream and observe areas with a high potential for waste that can be optimized. Gemba Walk templates ensure your managers focus on the processes and not people and document observations correctly. Standardization also creates better and more insight-driven reporting.

Weever includes form and report templates that can be customized to your unique requirements.

Best Practice #3: Ask a lot of questions and don’t make suggestions right away.

Ask questions to uncover the who, what, where, when and why for each procedure. Understand why operations are performed in this order and particular way. Uncover the root cause of issues with the operator. But be careful not to make suggestions until you have a moment to review all of the information.

Use the Root Cause Analysis module in Weever to collaborate on potential issues and create an action plan.

Best Practice #4: Set a schedule but feel free to mix it up.

Keeping a schedule is great for managers, but what is “walked” should be switched up because processes can change based on who is executing them, the time of day, and other parameters.

Create intermittent schedules using Weever’s inspection scheduling module. Assign inspections to lines, machines, teams, and/or staff members.

Best Practice #5: Follow-up

Follow-up with employees to share what you have learned and plan next steps. Perform future Gemba walks to observe the changes you’ve implemented and if they achieved the desired results.

You can manage all facets of your Gemba workflows using In Progress Tickets in the Weever Platform. Set the status as “Work Started”, assign action items and set due dates.

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