Who should go on a Gemba walk?

Gemba walks are a great way to learn more about specific areas of the workplace, come up with improvement ideas, increase safety, and much more. There are many different people in a facility that can, and should, go on this type of walk. Depending on the role that a person has with the company, they will be able to get many different benefits from the walk.

Supervisors

The direct supervisors of an area will likely spend a lot more time on the floor with employees than anyone else. Because of this, they may not do as many formal Gemba walks in their area. They can, however, engage in Gemba walks to other departments or areas to learn more about them. This can help his or her area to better complete their work to help streamline the whole production process.

Area Managers

Managers that are over several different departments really need to be conducting Gemba walks on a regular basis. Many people recommend at least a weekly Gemba walk through their areas so they can keep up to date with how things are doing, and constantly find ways to facilitate continuous improvement of their areas.

Safety Coordinators

Those who are in charge of safety in a facility will get a lot of benefit from frequent Gemba walks. Getting out into the areas where work is being done will allow safety coordinators to have a much better understanding of where the risks are. Being in these areas will also let them witness the ‘near misses’ that often take place but are rarely reported.

Upper Level Managers

The upper level managers can get a lot out of Gemba walks. Even though they aren’t going to be responsible for the day to day activities of any given area, they are responsible for ensuring the success of a facility as a whole. Staying informed about how things are done will let them better push for changes that will be truly beneficial.

CEO & Other Executives

Those at the top levels of a company really need to keep a pulse on how things are doing. While they may not need weekly visits to every area, it is good to spend some time in each department at least once every few months, depending on the size of the company.

In the end, just about anyone who has any type of supervisory role, process improvement role, or other role related to making changes will want to take part in regular Gemba walks. They are a proven strategy that can bring a lot of benefits to a company.

 

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Additional Resources

Gemba Guide
 
Lean Manufacturing Powerpoint
 
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