Gemba Audit: Assessing Process Efficiency and Identifying Improvement Opportunities

Gemba Audit: Assessing Process Efficiency and Identifying Improvement Opportunities

Over the past few years, Gemba walks have become powerful management tools for identifying improvement opportunities in modern organizations. The technique helps leaders gain a deeper understanding of how actual work is done.

This is essential for promoting a culture of continuous improvement in a company. In this post, we will discuss the basics of Gemba walks, including what it means, the advantages, and how to implement the operation.

What is a Gemba Walk?

Gemba walk refers to a lean management philosophy that involves visiting the real place where work is done. Management in the manufacturing industry uses lean management/enterprise techniques to improve processes and improve quality.

During a Gemba walk, the leader will visit the shop floor and engage with team members regarding work dynamics. The primary goal of the process is to identify and gather feedback on various aspects of the organization’s operations, including;

  • Inefficiencies
  • Waste
  • Challenges

Basically, the supervisor will focus on identifying areas where the company can improve operational excellence.

What are the Benefits of Gemba Walks?

As we already know, a Gemba walk is a lean management technique that involves observing business operations in the actual place where it all happens. Let’s look at the benefits of implementing this approach to management in an organization:

Enhanced quality control

Gemba walks make it easier for managers to monitor standard work and identify quality issues earlier in the production cycle. That allows them to make necessary corrections quickly. This is essential for improving the value stream and ensuring the customer gets products or services that meet their expectations.

Process Improvement

Besides improving value stream mapping, Gemba walks help management identify issues in the manufacturing process. A first-hand understanding of the root of inefficiencies is crucial in determining areas of improvement and finding long-term solutions, thereby improving business operations.

Promotes Employee Empowerment

Gemba walks provide a rare opportunity for employees to engage with their employers. It facilitates design thinking and empowers everyone within the organization to create a successful lean office.

Boosts Communication

A successful business depends on good communication and Gemba walks facilitate effective communication between management and employees. This management technique gives employees an excellent opportunity to air their grievances and concerns regarding operations and the work environment.

Cost Efficiency

A Gemba walk is one of the critical practices in the Toyota Production System (TPS). As you know, TPS strives to eliminate waste and inefficiency in the production cycle. It organizes manufacturing and logistics in the production process, minimizing waste and saving money.

Tips on How to Do a Successful Gemba Walk

Here are some steps to implement successful Gemba walks:

  • Define your goals – The first step in implementing a successful Gemba walk is defining the goals and objectives for the process. Think about what you want to achieve at the end of the exercise. That helps you stay focused on the right places and aspects of the shop floor.
  • Generate a checklist – A Gemba Walk checklist is equally as crucial as your process objectives. A list helps you stay organized as it outlines the areas of the shop you will visit. It also outlines the questions you will ask, the personnel you will speak to, and the information you will collect from them.
  • Pick a team – A Gemba walk should be an inclusive process, so ensure you pick a team of individuals from different departments, levels, and functions to take part in the process. Having a team is essential since it also ensures you cover a larger space, interview more people and collect more data.
  • Collect data and notes – As you walk, note down key details that align with the objectives. For instance, if the goals are to identify ways to align capabilities to business strategy, you should take notes suited to operational excellence consulting.
  • Use all the tools at your disposal, including an Excel workbook, PowerPoint diagrams, and a visual workplace. This will enable you to gather the data you need for the next step of the process.
  • Review the notes and implement the changes – The data collected from the Gemba walk are essential in strategic planning. So, review the notes from the process and develop an action plan to make the necessary changes.

Also, implement a change management process that helps you follow up with employees to ensure company sustainability.