In Japanese, Gemba means the “real place”. This is a management technique, where managers go to the work floor to observe operations, so as to find possible scope and opportunities for improvement. While the definition of Gemba is rather simple, the actual work is a long process. Typically, managers take decisions based on data, but Gemba walk actually takes them to the workplace, usually a factory or production unit, so as to check the flow of work. The exercise is extremely critical, because it allows the management to get a fair view of possible issues that must be fixed.
Using an app for Gemba walk
Managers are expected to visit the workplace and take notes, pictures and details. The process can be a long one and must be completed at least thrice or more times a day. As such, Gemba walk must be systemized and planned in the right way. You can visit Tervene, which offers an app that promises to simplify the process. Managers can add notes and photos easily, besides having a checklist. Apps for Gemba are really handy, because it allows the management to go back and review the feedback from each of the walks, so as to take concrete decisions later.
Things to understand
Gemba walks are not meant to be an audit exercise. In fact, it has to do more with teamwork. People, including workers on the floor, must be well-aware of Gemba and should be asked, encouraged to share their feedback. Managers are also expected to be more friendly, rather than bossy on the floor. Gemba walks should also have a purpose. While every aspect of production and work flow is reviewed, there is usually some kind of objective that managers keep in mind. There needs to be a target and agenda at hand, and all the necessary checklists must be made. A Gemba walk can last for about 30 minutes to an hour or more, but the exercise shouldn’t really impact the work process. What’s called an observer effect must be avoided, and people should be able to work as per their norms when the Gemba walk is in progress.
If your company really needs to make the most of Gemba walks, it is important to automate and simplify what’s possible, for which an app can be really handy. Do your homework, check the features and take a call based on pricing.