Your Gemba Walk Checklist For ManufacturingWhen planning how to do a Gemba walk, consider the following ideas.
1. Prepare everyone involved.The factory or floor staff need to understand what it is and why they are being watched. Otherwise, staff may feel uneasy about why executives are watching them work. Also, management and executives need to understand the purpose and buy-in. Pick a theme covering what you hope to learn from the process. Make sure everyone understands what is going to happen. Many companies benefit from hiring a coach to guide them through the process.
2. Create a PlanA Gemba Walk usually focused on a specific purpose and a specific Key Performance Indicator (KPI). The manager should prepare a list of questions to learn in-depth about how things are currently done and the reasons why. It is also a good time to ask staff for ideas since often they are well aware of inefficiencies and areas that need improvement. Often, the goal of a Gemba Walk is to identify any gaps. Also, plan for any practicalities. What personal safety equipment is required on the floor? Make sure all Gemba Walk participants are dressed appropriately especially if that requires a hardhat, specific types of shoes, or PPE. If the plant is noisy, consider renting or purchasing appropriate hard hat communication equipment like two-way radios which may make it easier to talk.
3. Focus on the Process and Ask the Right QuestionsMake it clear to everyone that the focus is on methods and procedures, not individual workers. How, when, and why questions are often good choices. Also, the journalist’s “5 Ws” who, what, when, where, and why provide a neutral framework for information gathering. During a Gemba Walk, try to avoid:
- Breaking from the plan or making off-the-cuff comments that deter from the goals.
- Criticizing people, giving advice, or demanding that specific things are fixed. While it can be tempting and maybe in some cases necessary to address safety risks, the goal is to see the reality.
- What are you working on?
- Is there an established process for this work? If so, what is it?
- Have you experienced any problems with the established process?
- What was the problem? Why is that a problem?
- How can the problem be solved?
- What do you think caused this problem?
- Who do you speak with when you notice a problem?