As a manager before walking on the shop floor, it is very important you make a plan and follow the right steps. The plan should consist of the following:
It is a requirement for Gemba, to choose a theme for your Gemba walk. Examples can include safety, productivity and others.
The purpose of the Gemba walk should be clear with all the team. They should be aware of the purpose of gemba, serving as a technique for continuous improvement for the benefit of everyone in the organization. The advantage of this is that it creates solid ground for effective collaboration.
Gemba is primarily focused on process, not on people with the goal of observing, comprehending and enhancing the process for better performance. Questioning people’s abilities will result in resistance.
A best practice to adopt is following the value-chain. This gives the best prospects to identify regions with a huge potential of waste activities.
Making suggestions during the walk is not necessary. All you need to do at this stage is capturing all that attracts your attention using mobile devices is necessary. Some situations may leave you with no choice but to propose a solution right away, but this wouldn't be the best. Analysis of the current state should be kept for later review when you are more relaxed to provide accurate and precise analysis by employing effective problem-solving tools. It would be better than an instant feeling.
Having a colleague from another department for Gemba is usually an advantage. Ideally a person who has entirely different working background is preferred. Experience shows that individuals with less awareness of the daily processes normally have a fresh eye to see things differently and often ask different questions.
Gemba walk may not always yield substantial observation, but you should still share your experience with with the team for analysis. This should be should be done to ensure objectivity. Ensure not to blame them, but be reasonable about areas of improvement. If you are making actions after the walk, take the team in confidence about the future changes and why they are significant.
Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations.
You can reach him here.