Why Your Company Should Do a Gemba Walk
Albert Einstein once said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes”. A manager at an organization doesn’t have to sit down doing the same things and expecting different results. They need to be out there and witness their employees working, see what they are doing; they need to do what is known as Gemba Walk.
This wonderful philosophy is a very important element of lean management and it allows leaders and manager to be in the thick of the action. They observe their employees while they work, obtain knowledge about work operations and look for ways to continuously improve.
The word “Gemba” is actually a Japanese word which when translated to English means “the real place”. When it comes to lean management, Gemba is very important for everyone working in an organization because it is where operations happen. For organizations that manufacture products which are sold on the market, the factory floor is their Gemba. Once again, it is where the work happens and where managers can analyze and observe things.
Here are some reasons for performing a Gemba Walk.
1. Improvement opportunities are easily spotted by an organization
Since managers are on the floors analyzing and observing what the workforce is doing, it is so much easier for them to highlight areas that need improvement. This is because they are not spending their time in the boardroom. They are with their employees on the work floor and get firsthand experience and information which is better than it coming from a second party.
2. Helps an organization stay committed to their quest for improvement
No organization out there wants to remain stagnant and not show any signs of progression as the years go on. Gemba walks helps an organization stay committed to always being innovative and looking for ways to better themselves to be competitive. An organization that does not show growth or progression can lose their customers or stuck using methods that clearly outdated. Gemba walks help present others and keep the improvement wheels in motion all the time as managers are more hands-on than staying still dealing with paperwork in their offices.
3. Increases the bond between management and their employees
As pointed out, since managers are constantly in the presence of their employees, it creates a level of transparency as far as communication is concerned. Employees can open up more and express their suggestions as well as concerned directly to their managers which increases their bond.
When the bond is increased, the workplace becomes a much happier place where employees will do everything they can to make sure the organization succeeds. This is because they see firsthand that the managers care about them and are listening to them.
4. Employees in the frontline can raise concerns quickly
This point goes hand in hand with the point mentioned above. The employees in the frontline are able to effectively participate in improvement and give their two cents on proposed changes for example.
5. Allows managers to spot top performers and employee engagement
Being on the floor allows managers to see which employees are good at their job and reward them accordingly. It also allows managers to see how employees work with each other and see if they have a happy camp or one that is full of conflict.
6. Allows managers to compare old results of past improvement methods with new ones
Managers are able to witness with their own eyes if new improvement efforts made are working better than old ones. By having a front row seat as operations are taking place, they are able to get an accurate representation of events. They can see what is working and what isn’t and possibly draft new plans if needed or improve on existing ones.
Overall when an organization performs Gemba Walks on a regular basis, they are able to build a stable relationship with their employees who will work hard to see the business do well. Problems are spotted quicker and continuous improvement is achieved faster thanks to clear communication of objectives and goals.