You may have heard of the Gemba walk, and the strategies behind it. And you may have heard of Kaizen and its ability to facility continuous improvement of a facility. But have you heard of Gemba Kaizen? This is a great strategy where a company takes advantage of Gemba walks and related activities to help push forward continuous improvement. This is an extremely effective way of making incremental improvements to a facility so you can stay competitive, eliminate waste, and remain successful.
Finding Improvement Opportunities
When you are doing a Gemba walk for Kaizen, you will want to make sure you are always looking for ideas on how things can be improved. As with any Kaizen strategy, you can look for both big and small improvement opportunities as they will all combine to help the company remain successful. Many people who use Gemba Kaizen strategies will walk through areas with the specific purpose of finding things that can be improved.
Measuring After Changes
After you make a change with the hope of improving some aspect of the facility, you need to measure how things are going. This will let you know whether your changes have had the desired result. A Gemba walk is a great opportunity to see the changes in action, and take the measurements that you need. While it is possible to have other people gathering the data about the changes you had implemented, there really is no substitution for getting information first hand.
Improving Safety in the Facility
While improvements to processes in a facility are going to be the primary way that Gemba Kaizen is used, you can also help to improve the safety of the area. Anytime you are on a Gemba walk, you can watch out for potential hazards, and then get them addressed right away. Safety issues are a huge form of waste in any facility, so anytime you can make something even a little safer, it will help to foster continuous improvement throughout the area.
Gathering New Ideas
Whether you are doing a Gemba walk to improve safety, measure the results of changes, or identify specific improvement opportunities, you can always keep your eyes open for new ideas. While you’re walking through an area you may be told by an employee of an idea they had, or you may see an inefficiency in action. These are all ideas that can lead to changes to benefit and improve the facility as a whole. It is this type of continuous improvement that is really at the heart of Kaizen.