Gemba walks, for the uninitiated, involve observing different management processes, so as to find scope and opportunities for improvement. Gemba walks are an effective technique of management and has proved to be fruitful for enhancing productivity overall.
In this post, we are discussing the mistakes businesses should avoid while conducting a Gemba walk.
- Doing everything manually. While Gemba walks are all about observation, you don’t want to do things manually. Get a Gemba walk app, such as the one from Tervene, and ensure that everything is noted down with supporting evidence like photos and text. Your mind can only store a limited amount of information, and having an app makes the job so much easier.
- Rushing the procedure. Businesses and managers need to understand that one cannot rush through a Gemba walk. It has to be an observation-based procedure, where every single step in the process is aptly monitored. The idea is to find possibilities for improvement and scope for change, and that cannot be hurried.
- Intimidating employees. A successful Gemba walk must include opinions of employees and workers. Managers often treat the exercise as a means to follow the people and find flaws in their work, which is a completely wrong thing to do. Gemba walks needs to be about processes, and not employees.
- Not engaging everyone. A Gemba walk may feel like an inspection to employees, and that should be avoided, because that interrupts the process of collaboration. Managers must ensure that everyone knows the purpose and nature of such management exercises, so that employees and every single worker feel comfortable about sharing views.
- Implementing changes during the walk. That’s probably the singular mistake that can ruin the purpose of a Gemba walk. You don’t want to be implement or suggest changes while on the exercise, because that’s not what Gemba walk is supposed to be. Take notes, consider possible changes that can be implemented, and discuss things later – not on the walk itself.
Businesses opting to conduct Gemba walks should always consider the objective, which can mean different processes or involve different leaders and managers. An app, as we discussed before, will be handy in keeping a tab on the walks and the results from each, and such software systems also make it easy for managers to collaborate and discuss their future goals. With Gemba walks, you can also develop relationships with the employees, which is helpful for implementing changes.