Gemba walks are deemed to be a famous management technique in the era of modern management. By paying a visit to the workplace, leaders enlighten themselves with valuable insights into the stream of value via the organization and reveal chances for improvement and equip themselves with innovative ways to support their employees. It is a collaborative approach, with employees offering their insights on what is done and why. Effective results are obtained on thoughtful planning, execution, and follow up. Here are some steps on executing a productive Gemba walk.
- Make your team ready.
It is crucial that the people who will be involved will be monitored and indulged during the walk have a good grasp of what is the purpose of Gemba walk and how it is effective. They should be acquainted that the gist is to get rid of the obstacles that act as a hindrance to add maximum value. Discussing the walk before it takes place will assist everyone feels more comfortable and open to the discussion.
- Set a plan
Gemba walks should never be confused with MBWA or Management by Walking Around. The latter is a method in which leaders simply walk and indulge themselves in what the employees are working on. A Gemba walk has a pre-determined purpose and is often related with a particular concern associated with a KPI. In the ongoing process of Gemba walk, the manager asks some deep questions about the monitoring of the process like
- Who is involved?
- What materials are involved?
- What do you do?
- How do you know what to do?
- When does the task take place?
- What depends on the outcome?
- Follow the value stream
Many times, the golden chances for improvement are observed where there is the existence of handoffs between the processes, departments or people. By paying heed to the flow of value, the wasted areas are observed and issues are unleashed. It is a good practice to involve your employees to gather some suggestions, shifts, or work areas that can be proven effective in the Gemba walk.
- Focus on the process, not the people
Gemba walk is not meant for evaluating the performance of an employee. The aim is to observe, understand and involve processes. It should not seem like a punitive process. It assists the employees in preparing them for the questions they will be asked about like how, when, and why things are done. Keep in mind that you are not looking for the right answers but honest and complete ones. If the work doesn’t comply with the standards, they should be open to it and not cover it up.