There’s no denying that ‘profitability’ and ‘customer satisfaction’ are two most important business goals on paper. However, to achieve both these objectives, what’s important is ‘operational efficiency’. The course of manufacturing products and finally selling those in the market is an extensive process, and more often than not, there is enough scope for improvement. Gemba Walk, which is among the most useful and effective management techniques of the decade, promises to help the management in finding such opportunities for improving their processes.
Below is a list of things that management needs to know about Gemba Walks.
- Gemba Walk is not avoidable. Any business that’s committed to improving their operations shouldn’t avoid this technique at any cost. For the uninitiated, Gemba Walk is the process, where managers leave the desks and go to the real places of work, to find possible flaws in the operations and have a direct talk with the employees.
- Gemba Walk is not a ‘bossy walk’. Managers often take Gemba Walks as an opportunity to intimidate their workers and front-line employees, which is a huge mistake. During such walks, you want to collaborate with workers at all levels and take their inputs for all aspects of operations, because they are the one doing the real jobs.
- Gemba Walk can be improved with an app. Yes, companies like Tervene have come up with Gemba Walk apps, and you would be surprised with the features. Besides recording every step in Gemba walk, these apps allow managers to analyze information, conduct meetings for better collaborations and enhance their approach towards such an exercise.
- Gemba Walk requires perception and collaboration. Firsthand information is always the best information, and this kind of management technique allows managers to get close to their employees and learn about their real problems. You need to be collaborative in nature and must be empathic and perceptive towards your people.
- Gemba Walk is not a one-time thing. Operational efficiency can be improved when you are constantly involved in the operations, and management needs to appreciate that a Gemba Walk once a year hardly does any good.
Finally, do not treat this exercise as a means to apply changes within the working system. Gemba Walk is just meant for observation and taking notes – You don’t implement changes while you are on the walk. Also, this is not the same thing as ‘management by walking around’, so keep that in mind before you step in and take the first step.