Gemba means the “real place” in Japanese. It is a kind of management exercise, where managers go in teams to the work floor and observe the work process. The purpose is to find the possible room for improvement and enhance operational efficiency. When it comes to Gemba walk meaning, managers must be aware of the dos and don’ts, because the whole exercise only makes sense when concrete decisions can be taken. In this post, we are sharing the seven things that managers need to know about Gemba walks.
- It is about process, not people. You are not conducting Gemba walks to evaluate the performance of workers or find flaws in their jobs. Instead, the focus is more on observing how the work flow happens at the factor or production facility.
- Participation is critical. You have to understand that Gemba walk needs participation of those on the floor. Workers need to know what the exercise is all about, so that they can prep. Also, they must be encouraged to share views and feedback.
- Everything must be noted. From taking photos of certain tasks and machines to creating notes during the actual walk, everything has to be accounted for. Thankfully, there are apps that can simplify and systemize the process of Gemba walk.
- Don’t be bossy. You don’t want to make people uncomfortable during the exercise. Keep in mind that you want to know more on real problems, and for that, having friendly and happy interaction with employees is necessary.
- Don’t take corrective steps. This is not a process of correcting mistakes. Even if you find something wrong with work flow during a Gemba walk, just take a note. Avoid remarks and suggestions, because that just defeats the purpose of observation.
- Take your time. A Gemba walk can take time, and it’s okay. Make sure that you have enough time to pay attention. In case of a rush, just reschedule the exercise and let the entire team know.
- Teams are important, big teams are not. You don’t want to go for a Gemba walk with a huge team, because that might actually affect the work flow. What’s called the observer effect must be avoided, and the process should cause minimal or no disruption to the actual work flow.
Check online for apps for Gemba walks, so that you can do better with your time and make the most of your team’s effort.