Most leaders dedicated to continuous improvement focus on performance indicators that can be measured and rightly so. We look at cost, production speed, error rates, customer satisfaction scores, and other quantifiable business metrics to identify opportunities for improvement and to assess the impact of any changes that we implement. However, there are some things that can’t be measured – process problems or improvement opportunities that you have to see with your own eyes to understand. For those, there are Gemba Walks.
Gemba means “the real place” in Japanese. During a Gemba walk, the leader goes to the place where work is performed to gain first-hand insight into the target process. Unlike the practice of Management By Walking Around, Gemba walks are structured and performed with intention.