Jasmeet Kohli

Thursday 6 September 2018

How to Plan a Gemba Walk?

Lean lays a lot of stress on "Gemba Walk" to identify the waste in the process & bring about improvements. But what is this Gemba??

What is Gemba? 

Gemba is a Japanese term which literally means "the real place". In business, gemba means the place where the value is created, which primarily refers to the factory floor or the office floor. 

What is a Gemba Walk? 

Gemba Walk means observing the work process at the actual place where the work is taking place. Lean emphasizes that managers at all levels should regularly go for Gemba Walks so that problems in a process are clearly visible at the production floor or office floor. Most of the improvement ideas also come from the same place. 

How to Plan a Gemba Walk?

Its very easy for a manager to go for a walk on the factory floor or the office floor to observe what is happening. But without a definite purpose & plan for it, it will just create more waste. Planning a "Gemba Walk" will require some planning in a systematic manner:  
  • Identify the purpose for the Gemba Walk
  • The work process, its inputs, working method & expected output should be understood clearly
  • The time for observation should be carefully decided to ensure that the visit happens at the right time for observing the process in action
  • Identify the right place to observe where work is being done and value is being created in the process
  • Carefully observe the work processes and activities to understand the current performance of the process. Take down notes and detailed drawings wherever required for later recalling what was observed
  • Based on the understanding of he process, evaluate the current process performance & compare with the ideal state to identify the gaps and weak links. Discuss with the team and other stakeholders involved in the process, wherever required to come at a definite outcome
  • Identify the opportunities for improvement based on observations & in discussion with all the stakeholders involved in the process, as per their expertise & discuss possible ways for solving the issues and problems found in the process

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