What to look for in a Gemba Walk App?
Gemba Walks are operational control practice that aims to systematically validate standards, identify issues proactively, and generate improvement opportunities. Using the right tool will help supervisors and team leaders adhere to an efficient practice. It also aligns the operational control with the organization’s strategic objectives.
- Custom validation checklists
- Thorough documentation of issues
- Connected problem-solving ecosystem
- Connected improvement management tool
- Dashboards and performance indicators
- Usable without a wi-fi connection
Download our free eBook: Guide to implement a Gemba Walk structure.
Gemba Walks contribute to:
Alignment: Aligns detection issues with the organization’s strategic objectives
Validation: Validates elements of pre-established standards
Problem-solving: Proactively detects issues and collaborates in problem-solving
Improvement: Identifies new improvement opportunities from recurring issues
Coaching: Aligns training needs through data visibility.
What are the 6 Features a Gemba Walk App Needs?
1. Custom validation checklists
A Gemba Walk tool helps managers build validation checklists based on reactive issues that impact their daily operations. The custom checklists are created from a list of questions that will help validate and identify issues. The questions are associated with categories (Health & Safety, Productivity, Quality, etc.) in order to align operational control with strategic objectives the top-level management wants to focus on.
Takeaway question: Does the tool provide various validation lists building for each department and level of management?
2. Thorough documentation of issues
A complete tool should enable rigorous documentation of issues identified on the floor. To do this, problems could be documented through photos, text, and categorization features (health & safety, quality, deadlines, etc.). Categorization provides a better prioritization of the issues. Moreover, supervisors and team leaders can take action effectively when they have access to a complete history of the issues.
Takeaway question: Can issues be documented through photos, text, and categories, in order to reduce transcription and increase the visibility of information?
3. Connected problem-solving ecosystem
Upon detecting an issue, it should be sent in a problem-solving ecosystem to take action and ensure adequate follow-up. Task management and a meeting structure are part of the solution. Ideally, the app should provide managers a way to take care of the problem quickly, transfer it to another department or level of management, as well as, assign responsibility to another manager. Placed in context: a supervisor should have many possibilities as soon as he identifies an issue from a Gemba Walk:
- Solve the issue proactively;
- Transfer the issue to a colleague;
- Create a task with a due date;
- Send it in a meeting;
- Create an improvement opportunity.
Takeaway question: Is the Gemba Walk tool an all-in-one connected solution that will link to a problem-solving ecosystem?
4. Connected improvement management tool
Gemba Walks are a great source of improvement opportunities. One of the goals is to generate improvement ideas from recurring issues detected on the floor. The validation list can be built in a way to align detection issues with the organization’s improvement priorities. Therefore, the Gemba Walk apps should be connected to a continuous improvement tool. In this way, it reduces the need for transcription, it is easier to prioritize projects, and managers have the context needed to execute improvement projects.
Takeaway question: Is it possible to transform recurring issues discovered with Gemba Walks into improvement ideas that will eliminate the issue once and for all?
5. Dashboards and performance indicators
Managers will need indicators to measure the quality of Gemba Walks conducted by supervisors and team leaders. They analyze data to validate the performance of the practice in accordance with objectives and align managers’ coaching. Auto-generated dashboards increase visibility on:
- Gemba Walks’ practice performance
- Issues detected and their resulting corrective actions
- Improvement opportunities issued from Gemba Walks
Takeaway question: Do the managers have access to Gemba Walk reports and performance indicators through auto-generated dashboards?
6. Usable without a wifi connection
Some organizations do not have a Wi-Fi connection on the whole place they operate. For example, in the wood industry, a significant part of the activities is being conducted outside and offline. Nevertheless, a Gemba Walk app should be usable even if it isn’t connected to the internet. It ensures that the team leaders can execute operational control wherever they are on the field without any limitations.
Takeaway question: Does the tool work offline and does it synchronize information once connected, ensuring the teams’ mobility?
Digital Gemba Walks VS. Gemba Walks on Paper
Usually, managers performing Gemba Walks use the tools at hand, such as a pen and a sheet of paper. Sometimes, an Excel spreadsheet will be used to collect statistics and analyze data. The traditional method slows down data collection and limits the visibility of information. Using a digital Gemba Walk solution standardizes operational control, increases visibility on issues & action plans, and reduces the transcription process. Digitization of information favours best practices from the team.
Related article: Benefits of Digital Gemba Walks
Tervene’s Gemba Walk App
Tervene develops a connected Gemba Walk app and enables a rigorous operation control, by:
- Building standard Gemba walk checklists
- Empowering managers to identify issues proactively
- Helping document of issues thoroughly
- Addressing every issue quickly and efficiently
- Transforming recurring issues into improvement ideas
- Communicating critical problems with the team
- Tracking issues, action plans, and management performance