For the uninitiated, Gemba means the ‘real place’. It is a kind of management technique, where managers go to the production facility or work floor, to observe and find ways to improve work and productivity. Today, Gemba walk has been adopted by most large and small organizations, and there are ready apps that can add simplicity and systemize the process. For instance, you can discover Tervene, which offers all the features required to conduct Gemba walk successfully. Below, we have enlisted 10 amazing tips that managers need to know to get the most out of the exercise.
- Encourage participation. Make sure that people on the floor are aware of what Gemba walk is all about and are open to sharing feedback.
- Be dumb if need be. Yes, you read that right. Gemba is not an audit, so make sure that you observe and learn, which may mean knowing things again from scratch.
- Ask questions. To understand work processes better, managers need to ask questions. The idea is to be open with people, so that they can come up with suggestions.
- Don’t be bossy. Ensure you have a friendly equation with everyone at the workplace. This is not an exercise to evaluate performance of employees and workers.
- Get a competent team. You need to get a competent and cross-functional team for Gemba, so that new insights can be obtained for better decision making.
- Do it often. Gemba must be repeated, at least a few times every single day, and it has to be planned. Schedules must be adhered to, as well.
- Don’t rush. Don’t have the time on a given day? Reschedule your Gemba walk. One exercise can take as long as an hour, so don’t rush in the process.
- Don’t offer advice. There is no reason why managers should offer suggestions during a Gemba walk. Even when things are not right, reserve your comments.
- Avoid deviations. Ensure that employees are talking of the process and not any other complaints and personal issues.
- Don’t stick to the checklist. While a checklist for Gemba can be really useful, you don’t want to adhere to that alone. Use your own sense of understanding to know more on how the processes work.
With these small aspects in consideration and a good app, managing Gemba walk doesn’t have to a complicated job for managers. Ask questions and ensure that the exercise is repeated at least two to five times each day!