What is a Gemba Walk
Gemba Walks are performed by management and are the tool that allows managers to see for themselves how the business is working. It underpins initiatives like LEAN and TPM. It eliminates second-hand information; you are at the “coal face.”
A Gemba Walk is simply the C in the Plan Do Check Act problem solving model for sustainable improvement. It allows managers to go to the place of work, look at the process and talk with the people. It provides the opportunity to talk with the process owners and see the work done daily, and understand the challenges faced in order to prove efficiency through effective resolution of the problems and guide corrective actions.
It gives management a “fresh eye” view of the operation.
Important to note that the walk is not to check up on people, but rather to have a presence and ask questions to understand what they need to do their job. We ask guiding questions let workers identify their own problems; What, Why, What if, and Why Not – pretty much in this order.
The key to a successful Gemba Walk is always to focus on process. When you get the process right, the results take care of themselves.
Performed correctly the Gemba Walk is a much more powerful management approach than sitting at a desk filling out a survey. It requires some effort to get these walks right but when you do it helps improve your organization.