What is a Gemba walk used for?

What is a Gemba walk used for?

Gemba walks have been growing in popularity over the past several decades, and today they are used in just about every industry imaginable. A Gemba walk is still most popular in the manufacturing industry, but the same concepts can be used in almost an environment, including outside of the workplace. When starting to learn about Gemba walks, it is often best to start by making sure you understand what a Gemba walk is actually used for.

The Goals are Flexible

You can’t really say that Gemba walks are used for any one specific thing. Instead, this type of walk is actually more of a framework that can be used to accomplish a variety of different types of goals. A manager can go on a Gemba walk each week, and each week he can have a different goal. The following are some of the many different things that Gemba walks are used for:

  • Process Improvement – Perhaps the most common use is to review the processes that are currently followed in a given area, and come up with improvement opportunities that can be implemented.
  • Finding Problems – If there is a problem in an area, a Gemba walk can be a great way to identify the root cause of the issue so that a solution can be implemented.
  • Improving Safety – Watching for potential hazards in a given area is another popular way that Gemba walks are used. Workplace safety can be greatly improved upon by using regular Gemba walks.
  • Employee Engagement – Whenever a manager goes on a Gemba walk, they should be interacting directly with the employees. Listening to their concerns, ideas, and other information can help to improve their morale and engagement dramatically.

As you can see, Gemba walks can be used for a great many different things. Each time you are planning a Gemba walk, you should first think about what your goal is so you can focus your attention on that area. If you notice other issues, come up with other ideas, or hear something outside of your stated focus, however, make sure to take note of it and act on that information as well.

 

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Additional Resources

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Gemba Guide
 
Lean Manufacturing Powerpoint
 
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