A Gemba walk is an incredibly valuable tool for problem-solving and continuous improvement in the workplace. During a Gemba walk, questions are asked to help uncover hidden problems and areas for improvement. Knowing the right questions to ask during a Gemba walk is essential for extracting useful information from workers and understanding how things work within an organization. In this article, we share important questions to ask during a Gemba walk.
What Is The Goal Of A Gemba Walk?
The goal of a Gemba walk is to gain insight into how things are done on a daily basis by asking open-ended questions that encourage reflection rather than just factual answers. Engaging in this type of dialogue reinforces collaboration between colleagues and promotes an atmosphere of continual improvement within the workplace.
Who Should Participate In A Gemba Walk?
Gemba walks are an effective ways to evaluate processes and identify improvement opportunities. Here are people that should be included in the process:
The management team should have at least one representative participate in each Gemba walk in order to provide feedback and oversight of the process. Management should be present to recognize areas that need improvement, provide resources when needed, and facilitate the change process.
A great way for executives and directors to get a better understanding of their organization is to invite cross-functional teams to take part in Gemba walks and observe how different departments interact with each other. This provides an opportunity for employees from different divisions to see how their work impacts others across the company. Inviting team members from accounting, operations, customer service etc., can help identify potential bottlenecks or improvements that need to be made.
External Experts And Consultants
Gemba walks are beneficial for gaining insights from external experts and consultants who have experience dealing with similar problems within your industry. By tapping into knowledgeable sources you’re more likely to find solutions that will have a bigger impact on your business’s overall performance.
Internal Subject Matter Experts
The most important members of any Gemba walk are internal subject matter experts (SMEs) since they can offer first-hand experience on existing processes. They know what works best in certain scenarios and they can point out potential risks or loopholes within current practices. SMEs should be involved throughout every stage of the Gemba walk.
Employees And Customers
Employees working on the frontline of production or service delivery know best what needs improving within their field of expertise which makes them invaluable participants during a Gemba walk. On top of employees it’s important not to forget about customers. Getting feedback from them on how they perceive products/services purchased can also help generate ideas for future changes that could increase customer satisfaction and have a positive financial impact.
How Are Gemba Walks Structured?
Gemba walks involve sets of standard questions and can be customized to suit individual business needs. Here are three key elements that make up how Gemba visits should be structured:
- Basic questions: before embarking on a Gemba walk it’s important to have some basic questions prepared. These provide the foundation for understanding processes within an organization and uncover opportunities for improvement.
- Coalface questions: once you have asked the initial questions, you must then delve deeper into each process area and ask specific coalface questions. This entails looking at areas such as customer service, supplier relationships, staff morale, inventory management levels, etc. In addition to this information gathering phase, measurable performance indicators should be established for future tracking purposes.
- Action plans: after identifying issues, an action plan needs to be put in place. At this point, Gemba Walk leaders should ensure that actions are tracked by implementing appropriate reporting protocols, so they can review whether or not their efforts were successful.
In order to get the most out of Gemba walks, organizations should focus on structuring them properly with well-formulated questions that cover all aspects of the business.
What Types Of Questions Can Be Asked During A Gemba Walk?
A bunch of questions can be asked during a Gemba walk, from inquiries about processes and procedures to observations about client compliance. The questions should cover both leadership tasks and standardized tasks that take place every day. This allows leaders to get an accurate picture of how their team is working, to identify areas where improvement is needed, and to develop more effective ways of working.
Questions related to customer service are especially critical because they help uncover issues or problems that lead customers away from the brand. Leaders need this information in order to keep customers satisfied, engaged, and loyal over time. With an effective set of questions during a Gemba walk, businesses can pinpoint exactly what needs to change, so they can improve performance across all levels of their organization.
How Did You Learn To Complete This Task?
Asking how an employee learned to complete a task is one of the most important questions that can be asked during a Gemba walk. It helps shop floor management, audit managers and other business management experts find out if there’s a consensus among employees about how they perform tasks. This way, managers are able to make sure that everyone follows the same process when carrying out specific tasks and have access to the necessary information, which improves efficiency and productivity on the shop floor.
What Are The Process Inputs And How Are They Produced Or Procured?
The robust problem-solving framework employed during Gemba walks requires probing each area of the observed process. This includes asking about what resources are needed for that task or project, which suppliers provide them, who manages the procurement and whether there are other sources available at a better price. Knowing these details can help identify areas of improvement while uncovering new opportunities in existing systems.
Asking focused questions regarding input requirements ensures that all relevant factors have been considered when developing improvement strategies at multiple levels of operation. Organizations can use Gemba walks as a way to hone their decision-making capabilities based on detailed analysis of resources needs and delivery methods.
What Measures Are In Place To Assess The Success Of The Process?
This question includes asking what measures are taken to evaluate performance, identify improvement opportunities, implement corrective actions and ensure customer satisfaction scores remain high. Leadership teams use these results to make decisions to improve lean initiatives across their organizations. These could include eliminating wasteful activities or implementing active communication between departments.
The data collected from these types of assessments provides invaluable information to organizations looking to streamline their operations and increase efficiency while maintaining customer satisfaction levels high. It allows management teams to better understand where improvements need to be made and take action accordingly, helping them meet industry standards and maximize profits.
Are There Factors That Slow Processes Down?
When it comes to the daily operations of a business, determining whether or not current procedures are slowing production is essential. This opens up opportunities for improvement, as well as an avenue for crisis management if necessary.
To better understand the factors that slow down your processes, consider the following:
- Current processes and preconceived ideas
- Opportunity for improvement
- Crisis management strategies
- Additional thoughts on company goals and daily operations
These insights will give you a more comprehensive picture of how your organization functions. With these insights, businesses can make informed decisions that lead to growth and prosperity.
Do You Have Access To All Of The Tools And Materials Necessary For The Process?
The answer to this question should reveal how well the teams are working together and whether there is anything preventing them from doing their work in a timely manner. It can also reveal administrative tasks or ad hoc requests that may be slowing down solution delivery. Understanding this helps directors of operations gain a deeper understanding of what it takes for their team to succeed.
To get a comprehensive picture, leaders should consider the following: Are teams able to do their jobs without interruption? Do employees have clear roles and responsibilities? Is communication open between departments? Does everyone feel empowered to take ownership over specific tasks?
What Happens If Equipment Or Materials Are Not Available?
This can have a direct impact on business performance, as it affects the production process and can lead to potential opportunities for improvement. To develop an effective improvement plan, executives should assess abnormal conditions in the actual workplace that could be resolved with a consensus solution.
Having an open dialogue between executive management and employees allows everyone to work together to find solutions that meet company standards while ensuring efficient production. Unforeseen problems, such as lack of resources, can be quickly resolved through clear communication channels between staff members who understand the context of the problem from different angles.
How Do You Propose Improvements To The Process?
This question helps managers identify areas of improvement within their operations, allowing them to take steps to optimize business practices. By asking this question on a regular basis, managers will can keep track of how things are going in their organization and prepare for the future. Additionally, by identifying possible changes or modifications that could benefit the processes, managers can implement solutions quickly.
The Best Gemba Walk App
If you want to organize Gemba walks but don’t know where to start, it helps to invest in technology. The Gemba Walk App is a lean management solution designed for continuous process improvement. By digitizing your Gemba walks, you can optimize efficiency and reduce waste. Using a Gemba walk solution is also a great way to thoroughly document issues and quickly assess problems.
Our Gemba walk software allows you to:
- Easily take digitized notes
- Reduce data collection time
- Obtain invaluable insights
- Integrate your information into a task management software