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What is a Gemba Walk Checklist

What is a Gemba Walk Checklist

Many business owners dedicate a huge chunk of time and effort to continuous improvement, focusing mainly on measurable performance indicators. For example, they tend to look at production cost, speed, error rates, customer satisfaction ratings, and other tangible business metrics to identify improvement opportunities. At the same time, this method also assesses the effect of changes that they implement. However, some are non-quantifiable – improvement opportunities or process problems that business owners and team leaders alike have to see with their own eyes to understand. For these matters, a Gemba walk is a great approach. This article will discuss what a Gemba walk is; specifically, a Gemba walk checklist and why you should start incorporating this method into your business operations.

What is a Gemba Walk Checklist?

Gemba is a Japanese term that means “the real place.” In a Gemba walk, the leader gains first-hand insight by going to the workplace and assessing the target process. Unlike the traditional practice of ‘Management By Walking Around,’ the Gemba walk is structured and performed with utmost intention and purpose.

A Gemba walk checklist is a problem-solving tool used mostly by management leaders to help assess a process and identify areas needing improvement. It also allows them to take note of the current situation, understand how employees do their work, and get ideas for possible changes or improvements. Furthermore, it can be used to reference matters with concerned parties.

Purpose of Gemba Walks

The main objective of a Gemba walk is to observe, listen, learn, and understand the current state of a process. It is an effective and efficient method that enables management leaders to know what’s working and what’s not by being in the actual place of work and seeing how the employees operate.

Gemba walks are not audits, per se. Therefore, they should not be used to point fingers or find someone to blame. Rather, they are conducted to understand the situation and find ways to improve it. After all, the goal is to make things better for everyone – employees, customers, and the business as a whole.

Gemba walks are structured and performed according to a particular intention. Good examples include standard work, customer service, safety, productivity, cost-efficiency, workspace efficiency, and creativity. In addition, Gemba walks are also done with the following purposes:

  • Identify issues and gain valuable insight on how to improve them.
  • Reduce existing wastage and find ways to eliminate or prevent them.
  • Encourage employees to give suggestions on how they can improve their work.
  • Build a good relationship with employees and understand their sentiments about the company, their job, etc.
  • Get ideas for process improvement from the people who do the work.
  • Discuss goals and objectives with employees
  • Establish stable and lasting relationships with people who are doing work and creating value.

 

3 Elements of an Effective Gemba Walk

Gemba walks take time, effort, and planning to be effective. But if done correctly, it can enable the leader to become an integral part of continuous improvement initiatives like layered process audits (LPAs) and Kaizen events. In addition, it helps leaders see and understand processes through the employees directly involved in the particular work.

To achieve a productive and insightful Gemba walk, leaders need to follow three important elements:

1. Go See

Walk around the workplace and observe if the processes are being carried out as they should be. Do not just rely on what you see on paper or what employees tell you. Instead, see for yourself how the work is done and note any problems or issues you see.

This is the best way to understand the actual process and identify potential areas for improvement. It also allows you to get ideas from the employees themselves on how they think the process can be improved.

2. Ask Why

Next, the one performing the Gemba walk needs to ask employees and other concerned parties questions. This is done to gain a deeper understanding of the process and why things are done in a certain way. It also allows you to get more ideas on how to improve the process.

Asking questions also shows your genuine interest in understanding the situation and finding ways to improve it. This can encourage employees to be more open and cooperative during the walk. Techniques such as the ‘5 Whys’ can be used to identify problematic areas of a process and ensure that they address the root causes of problems.

3. Show Respect

Finally, collaborate with the employees doing the work in understanding the challenges. Then, determine how to address them without compromising safety, quality, or productivity.

Respect their time and do not interrupt them while they are working. Let them know that you appreciate their work and value their input. This will help establish a good rapport and make the Gemba walk more productive. Remember that a Gemba walk should focus on the issue and not on worker performance.

How DataMyte Can Help with Your Gemba Walks

Thanks to digitization, you can now improve your Gemba walks using platforms like DataMyte, one of the leading apps for productivity and performance. With DataMyte, you can create your company’s very own Gemba walk app that will help streamline data collection and productivity reporting. 

With a Gemba walk app, you won’t have any problems conducting your Gemba walks and solving various problems within your business. In addition, the app you create from DataMyte will also let participants document their findings and generate comprehensive reports after their Gemba walk.

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard also has a checklist feature, which lets you create checklist templates tailored specifically to whatever Gemba walk you want to conduct. That way, your Gemba walks will be more focused and targeted. Once you’ve come up with a solution to a particular problem, you can then use our workflow builder to create workflows focused on resolving the issue and serve as a solid reference to your workers.

For more information about the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, visit our website today.

 

Conclusion

Gemba walks are a great way for leaders to gain insights into their business processes. By following this guide, leaders can use Gemba walks to gain insight and ensure that work operations are productive and efficient. Don’t forget to use apps like DataMyte Digital Clipboard to make Gemba walks easier and more effective.

 

 

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