Continuous improvement is the core agenda for better business management and productivity. Gemba walk is a management technique, which takes managers to the work floor, such as the production unit, manufacturing facility or factory, where they observe the processes, find scope for improvement and talk to employees and workers to get feedback. Gemba, in Japanese, means the real place. Companies like Tervene solution now even have apps for Gemba walks. In this post, we are sharing some of the best practices for the exercise.
Focus on the process
Managers need to understand that Gemba is not an audit, and it is neither a method for evaluating employee performance. The focus has to be on the process. It is absolutely critical that managers adopt the mindset of being an observer on the walk. They must take a note of everything, and with a Gemba app, the work gets easier, as notes, photos and checklists can be added as required.
If the same team, or set of people, go for a Gemba walk time and again during the day, there is hardly any newness in the approach. Asking people from different departments to come together for each walk is critical. The process of Gemba must be customized, planned, and should have an agenda in place, and it is always better to go in small groups, so that the work flow is not affected.
Everyone on the floor must know what a Gemba walk is all about, and people shouldn’t feel intimidated by the process. Encouraging employees and workers to share their feedback and views on certain processes is a part of the management work for Gemba, and that comes in handy in knowing aspects that may otherwise seem oblivious to managers. People should be allowed to talk and be open with those on a Gemba walk without any hesitations.
Gemba is not same as MBWA (Management by Walking Around), and communication is one of the key aspects of successful walks. You need to ask questions, as many as possible, to know the possible issues that people are possibly facing, or if they have any feedback on some of the key processes. Managers shouldn’t feel embarrassed about being a little dumb, because they are expected to be a listener and observer.
Check online for Gemba walk apps to know more about features and advantages for your business!