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What Is A Gemba Walk?

What Is A Gemba Walk?

Gemba is a Japanese term, which means ‘the real place;. In lean management, Gemba is the important place where the work actually happens, such as the factory floor for manufacturers. It’s where the real work is happening, so you can observe and analyze it. 

The Gemba walk was developed by Taiichi Ohno. Ohno is often thought of as the father of ‘just-in-time’ production. Through this concept, Ohno has created an opportunity for executives to step out of their daily routine, see where the work is happening, and build stronger relationships with their workforce based on mutual trust. 

There are three important parts of this lean manufacturing tool.

  1. Go and see. The idea behind the Gemba walk is the managers take a regular walk around the shop floor so they can be involved in finding where time or materials are being wasted. 
  2. Ask why. The main purpose is to explore the value stream and find any problem areas through communication. A good leader should be ready to listen more than they talk. You can use many different techniques to identify any problematic parts of the process. 
  3. Respect people. A Gemba walk is not a boss walk. You’re not pointing fingers or blaming people. You aren’t reviewing results. You’re there to collaborate with your team and find problems together. Concentrate on finding the weak points of your process, not weak people. 

You can learn more about the Gemba process through this infographic, which lays out the important steps of a successful Gemba walk.

Click here to learn more

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