Learn how to best perform a Gemba Walk in the workplace to understand the impact of a problem and continuously track improvements.
Use this checklist to document interviews, challenges and opportunities.Download template
Use this template ask if there is an established and documented standard procedure.Download template
A Gemba Walk checklist template is used by executives or managers when they take a tour of the work area. The main objective of a Gemba Walk is to identify problem areas in the business process and to find a solution to improve them. The method can be used to monitor one or more processes as required (e.g. customer service, costs, safety, productivity, workspace efficiency, etc.).
A Gemba Walk is an easy walk on the spot. Employees are interviewed about their tasks and observed as they are performed in order to identify potential productivity improvements. The term comes from the Japanese word "Gemba" or "Gembutsu", which means "the real place". All necessary data is collected with a Gemba-Walk questionnaire, which can also be designed as a checklist. This way nothing is forgotten and all information from conversations with employees and observations is safely documented.
Each Gemba Walk follows seven basic elements:
1. Choose a topic
You need to decide on the areas you want to concentrate on. These could be, for example, safety, efficiency, delivery speed etc. Also, it is recommended to think in advance about the questions you are going to ask.
2. Sufficient onboarding of the staff
All the team members need to be aware of what the Gemba walk actually is and which goals it has. You should emphasize the importance of all the staff being cooperative since you are all interested in the improvement of the organisation you work for.
3. Evaluate the workflow
It is important to remember that the stress of the assessment should be on the process. You should not evaluate personal abilities of your employees during Gemba walks.
4. Follow the value chain
This means comparing different activities and how valuable they are. Getting rid of useless and labour-consuming elements of the work will help your company to improve on its efficiency.
5. Note down and analyze what you see
Even such a simple procedure as Gemba walk requires consistency. Therefore, it is recommended to record your observations and refrain from immediate judgments. Take your time to process your results so that eventually to come up with a viable action plan.
6. Ask someone for help
It is worth considering inviting somebody from another department to join you at this task. They can provide a completely new perspective on the matter since they are involved in totally different activities usually.
7. Share the findings
Always take action after your Gemba walk even when you don’t find anything significant. Never forget to inform the team on what should be changed cause otherwise they would just feel being watched for no reason.
A Gemba Walk checklist template consists of a series of questions. There are three "magic" main questions that should be found in each template and from which further questions are derived.
This question concerns the standard process, which is documented, for example, with a work instruction or operating manual:
This question deals with the systematic recording of problems. This can be divided into the following sub-questions to get to the core of the problem:
The third question is rather an invitation: the parties involved in the process explain how, from their point of view, the problem or disturbance occurred. This explanation is recorded in writing. It is important to get to the real cause during the conversation.
After the Gemba walk, it’s necessary to set up a meeting where all the observations can be compiled and feedback can be shared. This meeting is sometimes referred to as “Kaizen circle”. Thanks to this circle, team members can share with the leadership team their views on process improvement.
The main goal of Kaizen circle is to make an improvement plan based on the observations from the Gemba walk. This post-walk step is crucial for showing respect to your team and making your company a place where value is created and appreciated. So, it is necessary to identify the non-value and value activities and try to eliminate the former.
To fill out a Gemba Walk checklist template on site with pen and paper can be a challenge. Documenting all data in writing and then transferring it to a computer is a repetitive process and time consuming.
With Lumiform's mobile app, you can easily conduct tours with your Gemba Walk checklist, report problems in no time at all and quickly assign corrective actions to responsible colleagues. Easy communication with all team members and management allows you to improve internal processes and resolve incidents up to four times faster. Take advantage of Lumiform for your Gemba Walk: