Gemba Walks: Finding Insights at the Heart of Your Business

Executives need real-time data to make critical strategic decisions about their business. Problems that are occurring on the manufacturing floor or in a bank branch, for example, can rarely be solved in the boardroom alone. Gemba Walks encourage managers to get out into their business and observe: how are staff performing, what do customer interactions look like, and how are operations working?

Understanding Gemba Walks

During a Gemba Walk, your executives follow a well-established process that helps them see below the surface of static reports on what’s happening within the company. Each Gemba Walk begins with a clear goal, such as understanding the state of customer service or what’s happening around a specific process in the warehouse. With these goals in mind, executives spend time on the work floor observing, gathering data on where work is being completed, and opening lines of communication with different members of your team.

Gemba refers to the idea that the most value can be created when you actually go and see where the work is happening. Often, the best improvement ideas will come from simply taking the approach that important innovations can happen in a bottom-up way.  The ‘Gemba Walk’ is an activity that takes management to the front lines to look for waste and opportunity.

Incorporating Gemba Walks into Your Management Plans

Incito partners with companies to help them develop customized strategies for incorporating Gemba Walks into their management approach. During deployment, Incito works with your team to help you:

  • Understand how Gemba Walks can help your company gather critical information at the point of value creation

  • Choose objectives that are a good fit for the Gemba model

  • Learn best practices for conducting a Gemba Walk

  • Avoid common mistakes of Gemba Walks, such as finding fault with individuals or trying to solve problems midstream

  • Create “customized” Gemba Scorecards to verify sustainable approaches to key business priorities in “model Gemba area”

  • Design a standardized Gemba Board based on mutually agreed upon Gemba Scorecard

  • Explore the role of established Gemba routes when conducting walks and learn how to design them for maximum efficiency

  • Establish Gemba “Stand Up” kick-off meeting guidelines

  • Facilitate initial kickoff meetings and ensure the kickoff meeting supports your key business goals

  • Explore how to capture the insights collected in your Gemba Walk and integrate those into your business to solve key problems

Are you ready to explore how a Gemba Walk can help your management team get more in touch with what’s really happening in your business? Contact Incito Consulting today to arrange for a personalized consultation.