Publish on: 09 Jan 2017

What is Gemba Walk?

Gemba is a Japanese word which means the place of activity. One of the principles of LEAN, Genchi Genbutsu, specifies that to understand really your operations, you have to go and see the activities on Gemba. The objective of the Gemba walk is to encourage your administrators to leave their offices (desks) to go and see, observe, listen to and question the work realized by your first-line employees.


Why is the Gemba Walk important?

The objectives of a Gemba Walk are to:

  1. Help your administrators better understand the realities of your organization
  2. Improve communication channel with your with your employees
  3. Mobilize and motivate your first-line employees. Your employees know simple and economic solutions to improve their work. They have however few opportunities to communicate them which makes their job stressful and not gratifying.
  4. Observe whether processes are respected or if there is a process missing and any methods of work
  5. Question the methodology and encourage continuous improvement
  6. Improve coaching by the administrators


How to conduct a Gemba walk?

Go to Gemba with the supervisor and walk the process followed by your first-line employees (keeping in mind the needs of your customers) to meet the needs of your customers. Observe, listen to and ask (raise) the following questions:

  • What are you doing?
  • Is there a standardized process to do this activity?
  • Is the process documented?
  • What problems do you face?
  • How do you identify a problem?
  • How do you solve the problem?
  • What are the problems you cannot solve?
  • Who do you speak to when something goes bad/wrong?
  • Do you use a visual board or visual management?
  • If Yes, is it useful? If No, why?
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