All authority for any sensei flows from experiments on the gemba [the place where work takes place], not from dogmatic interpretations of sacred texts or the few degrees of separation from the founders of the movement. In short, lean is not a religion but a daily practice of conducting experiments and accumulating knowledge. Over the past decade, he has shared his thoughts and discoveries from these visits with the Lean Community through a monthly letter. With Gemba Walks, Womack has selected and re-organized his key letters, as well as written new material providing additional context. Gemba Walks shares his insights on topics ranging from the application of specific tools, to the role of management in sustaining lean, as well as the long-term prospects for this fundamental new way of creating value. Reading this book will reveal to readers a range of lean principles, as well as the basis for the critical lean practice of: go see, ask why, and show respect.
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Go back to all Introduction Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. From such a perspective, most of the contemporary managers seem to be insane. Because you cannot expect different results from your team by sitting in your corner office and only attending KPI meetings.
Instead, you need to see where the real work happens. You need to do Gemba walks. Its initial purpose is to allow managers and leaders to observe the actual work process, engage with employees, gain knowledge about the work process and explore opportunities for continuous improvement. What Is a Gemba Walk Actually?
In other words, it is where the real work happens, so you can observe and analyze it. The Gemba walk is a concept developed by Taiichi Ohno, who is often considered the father of Just-in-time production. By developing such a concept, Ohno offers a real opportunity for executives to leave their daily routine, see where the real work happens and build relationships with workers based on mutual trust.
There are 3 important elements of this lean manufacturing tool: Go and see. The main idea of the Gemba walk is managers and leaders on every level to take regular walks around the shop floor and to be involved in finding wasteful activities. Ask why. The main objective of a Gemba walk is to explore the value stream in detail and locate its problematic parts through active communication.
A good leader is always eager to listen rather than talk. Here is why you may use different techniques such as 5 whys in order to identify problematic parts of the process.
Respect the people. You are not there to judge and review results. You are there to collaborate with the team and find problems together. Try to focus on finding the weak spots of the process, not of the people. The plan should depend on your goals and objectives. Sometimes it may be unstructured, for example, if you are new to the organization, while in other cases your plan will be much more precise because you will be more familiar with the details.
In any case, be prepared for the Gemba walk. Otherwise, it will be inefficient. Pick a theme. When you go to Gemba, you have to choose a theme. This will help you focus all your efforts and be effective.
There are different themes you may want to explore such as productivity, cost efficiency, safety and etc. In order to be as precise as possible, you will also need to prepare a list of questions you are going to ask. Prepare your team.
The team that will be observed should be prepared for what is going to happen. All team members need to have a clear understanding that the Gemba walk is a common process where the final destination is continuous improvement. This way workers will feel much more comfortable and willing to collaborate.
Focus on process, not on people. You need to remember that a Gemba walk is not the right time for evaluating the performance of your team. The main purpose is to observe, understand and improve the process.
Be where the value stream is. Following the value chain will give you the best opportunities to identify areas with a high potential for waste activities. Eliminating those activities will help you improve the overall performance. Record your observations. Write down everything that grabs your attention or even record it with your smartphone.
In some cases, you will probably be tempted to offer a solution immediately, but this would be wrong. Leave the analysis for later. You will be much more precise after you have all the facts available. Furthermore, the broad overview can offer you opportunities to use effective problem-solving tools such as PDCA cycle.
Much better than an instant gut feeling. An extra pair of eyes. It may be a good idea to invite a colleague from another department. Someone with totally different daily tasks. People who are less familiar with the processes usually have a fresh point of view and ask different questions that you may never ask. Otherwise, the team will only have the feeling of being watched. If you are going to take action after the walk, inform the team about the upcoming changes and why they are necessary.
This list will help you focus and target your efforts. The checklist has to include questions that will help you understand the process you are going to observe in a better way. Your questions may vary depending on the theme of your Gemba walk.
Here are some basic Gemba walk checklist questions: These questions will defer when exploring different areas such as: problem-solving, innovation, resources, tools and etc.
So before you go Gemba, prepare your checklist carefully based on the area you want to investigate. Post-Gemba Walk Before you take any actions based on your Gemba walk observations, you will need some time to organize your thoughts and notes. Feedback is important, but early feedback may be devastating. Here is why you need to sit down with the leadership team and carefully analyze the situation. For example, the ones who gave you the most insightful information.
Use all the data that you collected as part of your continuous improvement process, also known as as a Gemba Kaizen circle. It is a meeting held after each Gemba walk that may include a few participants from different departments. The main purpose is to have as many different points of view as possible in order to make the best decision. A decision that will actually bring improvement.
It is important to go around the shop floor and collect insightful information about what needs to be improved. However, what matters most is to go back where you started. A post-Gemba walk closes the loop and shows respect to the people that have been observed. This will make it much easier to lead a successful Gemba walk in the future.
Gemba Walks : Expanded 2nd Edition
Go back to all Introduction Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. From such a perspective, most of the contemporary managers seem to be insane. Because you cannot expect different results from your team by sitting in your corner office and only attending KPI meetings. Instead, you need to see where the real work happens. You need to do Gemba walks. Its initial purpose is to allow managers and leaders to observe the actual work process, engage with employees, gain knowledge about the work process and explore opportunities for continuous improvement. What Is a Gemba Walk Actually?
Add to basket Add to wishlist Description In 12 new essays, ranging from the provocative to the practical and written specially for the second edition of Gemba Walks author and management expert Jim Womack reflects on the past 30 years of lean, and assesses the current state of lean today. He also shares thoughts on how lean thinking and practice can continue to make the world a better place by gaining traction in areas such as government and healthcare, provides practical guidance for how leaders everywhere can realize the full benefits of a lean management system, and shares hope for continued improvement on the path to better work and more value. Over the past 30 years, Womack has developed a method of going to visit the gemba at countless companies and keenly observing how people work together to create value. He has shared his thoughts and discoveries from these visits with the lean community through a monthly letter.