Gemba: what is it, and how to apply?

Gemba: o que é e como aplicar?

Have you ever heard the expression “Gemba Walk”? The concept is simple, but very interesting for those who seek constant improvements in process management.

That is because Gemba, a word of Japanese origin, means “true place” and, within the business scenario, it can be defined as the place where things really happen. Therefore, when talking about an industry, the Gemba would be the factory floor.

Then you ask: but why can it help business? Easy! The above expression is literal. To go to Gemba is to walk around the area not only to get to know it, but to gain value and insights by analyzing the way the processes are carried out, how it is possible to solve problems or even to audit the work.

Many managers allow bottlenecks in the process to appear precisely because they do not talk to those who work effectively at Gemba and ignore important information on subjects ranging from material handling to the level of quality of the final product.

So that you do not run that kind of risk, follow the article and learn how to use the concept in your business!


How to apply Gemba


Talk to your team

It is essential to maintain good relationships with your teams and always be close to them. By constantly being in the environment, your employees will be able to better identify their needs and have ideas different from yours.

Keep them engaged throughout the process so that the team is truly align with the proposal for continuous improvement to optimize processes and prevent headaches.

Follow closely what happens in your operation

Currently, several software provide information in real time about your business, which allows constant monitoring and good visualization of the entire process.

An example is the tracking system, which allows you to do good people management from a distance and monitor your team’s productivity.

With or without the aid of technology, the important thing is to carefully observe how your processes work and how the dynamics of the factory floor are.

At first, do not ask any questions or interfere with the process. Just analyze, write down your observations and then discuss with the team that actually works there.


Do not skimp on the questions

Tip: the more open they are the better! Try to question simple things with the famous “what”, “through what”, “when”, to get more information about what really happens.

If you focus on “why” or “how” questions, they are likely to come loaded with the judgment of whoever answers them and reflect only one angle of the situation.


Go after the Gemba

There is no point in finding the concept sensational unless you set foot in the dough. Go to Gemba regularly, walk, observe and analyze. When you set aside time for this task, you will soon be able to recognize the way the processes operate, how they are managed, what types of problems occur, among other details that will be easily recognized.

Do not forget that as soon as a problem arises, the first step is to run to Gemba! Also, try to take temporary actions in the environment to identify broken machines and returned goods, for example.


Inside the routine

There are two main activities that aim to guarantee the QCD (Quality, Cost and Delivery, in English):

Maintenance: set the standards and constantly check if they are being follow. Otherwise, summon your team and make it possible to carry out what has been agree.

Kaizen: the established standards, in addition to being in effect, should be optimize whenever possible. Kaizen’s mission is to guarantee this improvement through three pillars: standardization, elimination of waste and 5S. The latter is an acronym that identifies the quality standard with five senses: use, organization, cleanliness, well-being and self-discipline.


Bonus Material

If you are interested in the topic, we recommend the book “How to do a Gemba Walk”, which seeks to be a guide for leaders who want to apply gemba in their business and be able to have a more efficient operation.

We also recommend the video below that explain in a few minutes what gemba is, and why it is important. A complementary way to the content already placed in this post!


How Novidá can help you with the application of Gemba

For everything to work correctly, it is essential that someone is following the processes and having information in real time is the big key to success.

We developed a solution focused on understanding and improving operational processes focused on people and their operational activities, alone in their operation or in the control of equipment, such as internal vehicles, forklifts, cranes, etc.

Through a set of proprietary technologies that involve indoor and outdoor Geolocation (RTLS), Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, we provide our customers with a holistic understanding of these processes. Allowing the measurement of reliable data and the complete control – in real time – of several critical indicators on its operation such as times and movements, safety and labor risks and the various analyzes of waste!

Thanks to our solution, you are able to visualize everything that is happening in your Gemba, having powerful insights to increase productivity, relocate teams, save time and cut expenses when purchasing extra materials.

In a system that is easy to implement, we have already generated consistent impacts on our clients’ operations, in the order of millions of dollars per year, with an average ROI of 14x the amount invested!

Check out our successful cases and see how Novidá works in practice!


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