Training material

How to Measure the Quality of Gemba Walks?

Last updated: February 8, 2024

Gemba Walks enable supervisors and managers to detect, solve and transfer issues proactively.

Otherwise, these problems impact performance indicators negatively and bring time-consuming activities in the manager’s daily work. One of the causes of a reactive system is managing in a firefighter mode.

Why is Measurement Important?

The main challenge is to conduct a standard and effective Gemba Walk. When managers adhere with the process, it becomes an efficient operational control practice. Measuring the efficacy of Gemba Walks helps with:

The performance of Gemba Walks:

  • Validate the quality and relevance of issues and improvement opportunities identified in the process.
  • Promote best compliance practices.
  • Ensure improvement of the operational control.

The enhancement of the supervision team’s skills:

  • Align personalized coaching for supervisors based on their needs.
  • Follow the progress and improvement of supervisors.

Set Goals to Managers and Supervisors

Having managers set quantifiable and qualifiable goals for their Gemba Walks helps empower them to support their team and improve the processes they are responsible for. Relevant goals that could be used are the number of Gemba walks performed, the average time, the issues count or the number of opportunities.

Follow Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Useful indicators to follow:

  • Average time of a Gemba Walk;
  • Issues count;
  • Gemba Walks count;
  • Recurring issues count;
  • Number of improvement opportunities provided from Gemba Walks;
  • Status of issues (converted in opportunities –  solved – unsolved).

Other validation elements to consider:

  • Are the issues that arise from the Gemba Walks relevant and do they align with the objectives?
  • Is the Gemba Walk performed at a regular time interval? A good routine shows a good control of the Gemba Walks practices.
  • Did Gemba Walk meet with all departments and workstations?
  • Were deviations or problems detected while performing the floor tour? If not, managers can wonder why an issue didn’t come up during the walk.

Conduct Gemba Walks with your Team on the Floor

The immediate manager of a supervisor or team leader can occasionally conduct a Gemba Walk with his subordinates. This gives insight on how the supervisor interacts with the employees. Doing so helps the manager pinpoint how to better coach the supervisors.

Points to keep in mind while accompanying your supervisors on the floor as they perform a Gemba Walk:

  • Does the supervisor and the employee adopt a language focused on performance?
  • Does the employee have a good understanding of what the supervisor is doing?
  • How does the supervisor interact with the employee?
  • What is the supervisor’s level of understanding of the floor and his operations?

Conduct Inspections to Improve Compliance of Supervisors’ Behaviours

It is possible to inspect the execution of the Gemba Walks to enhance the management behaviour of supervisors and help team leaders identify training needs.

Managers will audit how the Gemba Walk is performed with a validation list. Audits should not be a surprise: the criteria of the inspection and when the inspection takes place should be known by employees. Regular inspections ensure compliance with the practice.

Measure with Tervene

The features of Tervene’s Gemba Walk App provide better real-time visibility, as well as, the history of many indicators:

  • Gemba Walks count;
  • Issues count;
  • Average time per Gemba Walks;
  • Number of improvement opportunities raised.

Managers are responsible for logging information which is required to validate the relevance of the problems that arise for the Gemba Walks. A management behaviour dashboard provides helpful insights to measure how supervisors perform Gemba Walks which helps identify areas where coaching might be needed.

“We have access to a great amount of information in real-time. We know if Gemba Walks have been conducted as planned and if issues have been addressed or transferred into opportunities. We have access to everything that’s been done, and it helps us better coach our managers.”

  • Steve Pellerin, Production Manager, Safran Cabin Canada

Related Resources

Ebook: Checklists, templates, detailed strategy on how to implement a Gemba Walk structure

Blog: 6 Essential Features of a Gemba Walk App

Blog: Who Should Perform Systematic Gemba Walks?

Blog: Gemba Walk Checklist and Questions

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