Three Minute Features Video:

  • Automated Steps Creation
  • Data Collection
  • Cross-functional Reporting
  • Critical Analysis
  • Action Plan Creation
  • Team Engagement
  • Observation Notes
  • AI Driven Summaries, Suggestions & Projects
  • *Available 3rd party Integrations

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Praxie’s AI-powered Gemba Walk software transforms complex process steps into actionable data insights and significantly boosts productivity of your unique workflows.
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Improved Efficiency, Productivity and Decision Making
Customer Focus, Cost Reduction and Process Improvement

“Our team used to take days manually creating status reports. Today, Praxie’s Connected Worker AI automatically creates business summaries, reports and action plans for every layer of management, it’s amazing!.” – Satisfied Customer

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Gemba Walk Overview

A Gemba Walk is a management practice often employed in manufacturing settings to enhance process improvement and employee engagement. Typically conducted by managers, supervisors, or process improvement teams, the practice involves physically walking the shop floor, observing workflows, and engaging with employees to identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or unsafe conditions. The primary aim is to gain insights into the actual work environment rather than relying solely on reports or metrics. This firsthand observation provides a unique and valuable perspective, often uncovering opportunities for process optimization and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Gemba Walk Details

The Gemba Walk is a powerful technique in the manufacturing sector aimed at enhancing continuous improvement and operational excellence by involving management in direct observation and interaction on the factory floor. This systematic approach helps leaders better understand the processes, identify potential inefficiencies, and improve the overall workflow.

  1. Preparation: Before initiating the Gemba Walk, it’s crucial to identify the area or process to be observed, set objectives, and notify the staff that will be involved.
  2. Team Selection: The Gemba team often consists of managers, supervisors, and sometimes even external consultants who have a thorough understanding of the process under review.
  3. Observation: Team members walk the shop floor to observe the actual conditions. This is not an audit; the focus is on understanding how processes work in a real-world setting.
  4. Employee Engagement: During the walk, it is crucial to engage with the workers, asking open-ended questions to gather qualitative data. This can be as simple as asking, “Can you show me how this process works?”
  5. Data Collection: Along the walk, notes should be taken on areas for improvement, safety hazards, or inefficiencies. Photos and videos may also be used for later reference.
  6. Analysis: After the walk, the team reconvenes to discuss their observations, compare notes, and identify opportunities for improvement.
  7. Action Plans: Finally, an action plan is developed based on the observations and analyses, complete with tasks, responsibilities, and timelines for implementation.

The Gemba Walk serves as an interactive tool that brings managers closer to the actual work conditions and promotes a culture of continuous improvement. It allows an organization to align its managerial visions with operational realities, thus ensuring more effective decision-making. By consistently applying this technique, organizations can not only identify but also implement meaningful changes that drive efficiency and improve the overall work environment.

Gemba Walk Process

Integrating the Gemba Walk into a manufacturing environment requires careful planning and execution. Done right, this observational technique can provide valuable insights into processes and workflows, helping to pinpoint areas of inefficiency and potential improvement. The following steps outline how a project manager can successfully implement the Gemba Walk.

  1. Define Objectives and Scope: Clearly outline what you hope to achieve with the Gemba Walk, whether it’s improving a specific process or gaining a general overview. Success here lies in setting attainable, specific goals.
  2. Assemble the Team: Choose team members from diverse areas—management, engineering, and frontline workers—to offer multiple perspectives. A balanced team increases the quality of observations.
  3. Training and Briefing: Educate the team on what Gemba Walk is and how it will be executed. Pre-walk training ensures everyone is aligned on objectives and knows what to look for.
  4. Plan the Walk: Create a detailed itinerary that specifies which areas will be visited, in what order, and the time to be spent in each. Having a structured plan makes the walk more efficient.
  5. Conduct the Walk: Execute the Gemba Walk as planned, engaging with employees and making observations. The key here is active observation and open-minded dialogue with the workers.
  6. Debrief and Analyze: After the walk, hold a team meeting to discuss observations, insights, and potential improvements. Immediate post-walk analysis while memories are fresh ensures more accurate conclusions.
  7. Implement Changes: Based on the analysis, develop an action plan, assigning tasks and deadlines for implementing recommended changes. Measuring the success of the changes provides a loop for continuous improvement.

The implementation of a Gemba Walk is not just a one-off event but an ongoing process that requires thoughtful planning, execution, and follow-up. The key success factors are clear objectives, a multidisciplinary team, effective planning, open communication, prompt analysis, and actionable insights. This structured approach ensures that the Gemba Walk becomes an integral part of the organization’s culture of continuous improvement.

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Your Manufacturing Digital Transformation Practice Lead

Michael Lynch

Michael Lynch is a creative and successful executive with extensive leadership experience in delivering innovative collaboration products and building global businesses. Prior to founding Praxie, Michael led the Internet of Things business at SAP. He joined SAP as part of the acquisition of Right Hemisphere Inc., where he held the position of CEO. During his tenure, he transformed a small tools provider for graphics professionals to the global leader in Visualization software for Global 1,000 manufacturers and led the company to a successful acquisition by SAP.