Gemba walk is a management exercise, where managers go to the actual work floor and observe processes, so as to find potential scope for improvement. Contrary to what some people may believe, this is not same as Management by Walking Around. Gemba walk questions always relate to processes and not people. Below, we have discussed a few aspects as how managers can conduct Gemba walks successfully.
Know the purpose
The basic purpose of Gemba walks is to improve operational efficiency. You want to find the possible flaws within the workplace and fix those problems. However, this doesn’t mean that you can go around reprimanding people. Instead, this is more about observation and taking notes. There are apps that are meant to help first-line managers, so that they can complete Gemba walks successfully.
Schedule your Gemba walks
Gemba walks must be conducted several times in a day, at least for two to three times, depending on requirements, and the exercise must be scheduled, so that people on the work floor can prepare. You want to cause the least possible disruption to the work process as possible and reduce what is called the “observer effect”. If you are in a rush or don’t have time on a given day, go for a reschedule, but don’t try to complete things in a jiffy.
Talk to your people
Employees and workers need to know what Gemba walks are all about. This is not a bossy exercise, where you are evaluating performance. In fact, if you find something wrong with a work process, you shouldn’t be correcting the same during the Gemba walk. It is necessary to ensure that your focus remains on observation. Your people need to be participative in the process, and they must be encouraged to answer questions and share feedback.
Be open to ideas
Managers need to understand and be appreciative of the fact that Gemba walks are meant to improve work, so welcoming ideas and suggestions is a good way to encourage people. The work floor often has issues that are not always evident, which is why this is more of a personal exercise for managers. You can check online for apps that can help in conducting the Gemba walk in a more professional, planned manner, and you will be able to gain more insight.
Don’t ignore the importance and purpose of Gemba walks- This could be the answer to inefficient work!