With so many tools available to a continuous improvement professional, it is easy to get overwhelmed and consequently focus on a narrow grouping of tools. What Is a Gemba Walk? A gemba and sometimes genba walk is the term used to describe personal observation of work — where the work is happening. In the United States, Kaizen and Kaizen events are usually thought of as a one-week push for a change, usually a step change in performance. Gemba walks can help achieve a step change but can also be used for frequent, incremental improvements — which was the original concept of Kaizen. What Is a Gemba Walk Not?
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With so many tools available to a continuous improvement professional, it is easy to get overwhelmed and consequently focus on a narrow grouping of tools. What Is a Gemba Walk? A gemba and sometimes genba walk is the term used to describe personal observation of work — where the work is happening.
In the United States, Kaizen and Kaizen events are usually thought of as a one-week push for a change, usually a step change in performance. Gemba walks can help achieve a step change but can also be used for frequent, incremental improvements — which was the original concept of Kaizen.
What Is a Gemba Walk Not? A gemba walk is not an opportunity to find fault in others while they are being observed. It is also not a time to enforce policy adherence except possibly for safety problems or gross violations. If a gemba walk is used punitively, employees will shut down and resistance to change will rise rapidly.
A gemba walk needs to be approached from a place of mutual respect and interest in making things faster, safer, easier and just plain better. A gemba walk is also not the time to solve problems and make changes. This is a time of observation, input and reflection. If ideas or complaints arise, note them and make sure they are followed up on after the walk.
Be mindful not to focus on the details too quickly without seeing the whole. Solving Problems on the Shop Floor A sensei routinely encourages their students to get out of the habit of conference room analysis and design, and go to the shop floor to work directly with the operators. With this approach, the need to work through problems or to understand issues at a distance diminishes. The focus shifts from problem solving after the fact, to solving problems live, and eventually to coaching operators directly on how they can solve problems themselves — without the use of a week-long Kaizen event.
The more observation and problem solving that happen with operators on a gemba walk, the more successful and enduring the changes will be. There is no rule that says a practitioner cannot take a gemba walk at any point in a process change. In fact, reviewing ideas, piloting changes and tweaking implementation issues are all great uses of the gemba walk. Gemba Walk Compared to Other Data Collection A frequent objection to a gemba walk is that it cannot be as accurate as an established data acquisition system using statistical process control SPC to monitor and improve processes.
This argument against a gemba walk is likely to come when trying to solve problems in a strict methodology, more often with individuals who are newer to continuous improvement. But there does not need to be conflict in using all available data. Mental models can both help and hinder process observation. In the case of run chart data, the interaction of two parameters is seen with snapshots over time.
A run chart displays a lot of information: how any time period compares to any other time period, historical averages, and prescribed or derived control limits. Hidden in there, however, is a big assumption — that what is being measured is the key variable influencing the output of interest.
Said in the more traditional fashion, the assumption is that the run chart measures the vital X driving the big Y. The social momentum created from a run chart is a blessing and a curse. The blessing, shown in the figure below, is that it helps maintain the status quo as far as this X and Y relationship goes. A run chart also leads to the psychological effects of authority and consistency; these two social norms are powerful in regard to directing human behavior to rally around a common, central tendency.
What if the whole problem is wrong? What if the process dependency of the big Y on vital X changed such that X is no longer vital or is, at the least, diminished? What if Y is no longer relevant?
Example of Control Chart with Control Limits In contrast to the streamlined information from a run chart, which provides process feedback at a glance, observing a process opens an individual up to a flood of visual data. The amount of data the human eye takes in is estimated at approximately that of an Ethernet connection, or from 10 million to million bits of data per second. Although this can require only a subtle shift in awareness and perception, the observed waste and subsequent conclusions may be completely different.
Those improved skills help an individual to ask better questions and to focus on mentoring operators in solving their own problems. References 2. Cialdini, Dr. Influence: Science and Practice.
Unutmaz, Derya. Accessed June 11,
How do you know 3G (Gemba, Gembutsu, Genjitsu) in workshop kaizen?
This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. The principle is sometimes referred to as "go and see. One definition is that it is "collecting facts and data at the actual site of the work or problem.
The Many Sides of a Gemba Walk
Kaizen tends to be very used by many different businesses especially in manufacturing and warehouse facilities. The main goal of the Kaizen methodology is to improve efficiency and eliminate waste. Check out the ultimate Six Sigma guide you need. One of the things that you need to know about this broad methodology is that it can be applied under many different strategies. One of these strategies and probably one of the most well-known is the 3 G Principles - Gemba, Gembutsu, Genjitsu. The main goal of the Gemba, Gembutsu, Genjitsu is to work together to allow decision makers or managers to go directly to where the products are and where they are produced and see them with their own eyes.