Improving operational efficiency is one of the more objectives of management. Managers and leaders are expected to keep a tab on the work process, find possible flaws and take corrective steps as necessary. Gemba walk definition is about that. This is a management exercise, where managers go to the actual work floor, instead of guessing things from their cabin or taking decisions based on figures and data. During a Gemba walk, managers with respective teams will go to the factory, production unit or manufacturing plant, and they will observe the flow of work, so as to discover the scope for improvement. Personal attention and involvement are key aspects of successful Gemba walks.
Below we have enlisted the dos and don’ts of Gemba walks, which will be helpful for managers.
- Don’t be a boss. Gemba walks are about processes and not people. Do not intimidate people on the work floor.
- Note everything. Now, you have apps that promise to streamline the process and steps during a Gemba walk, so consider using one. Take photos when necessary.
- Ask questions. How, why, what, when – Don’t shy away from asking questions during a Gemba walk. You want to get feedback and reviews, so as to take necessary decisions later.
- Don’t correct things. This is not a corrective exercise, so make sure that you are not trying to fix things as the walk is in progress.
- Involve everyone. You want everyone to know that Gemba walk is a management exercise and not some sort of performance evaluation.
- Repeat time and again. Ideally, Gemba walks should be conducted at least two to five times each day, depending on the needs of the business.
- Be open to taking feedback. Being a listener on the walk always helps managers in getting a fair idea of things that must be changed and worked upon.
- Don’t rush. You don’t want to rush the process. Sometimes, these walks can take time, so if you have something important that must be handled, reschedule your walk.
- Don’t forget to plan. Gemba walks should be planned and scheduled, and there should be a purpose at hand.
- After conducting a walk, share feedback and observations with your team. This is the best possible way to get collaborative work done.
Check online for apps for Gemba walks and make sure that you have a systematic approach to the process, so as to improve operational efficiency.