In his book How to do a Gemba Walk, Michael Bremer completely sums up what Gemba Walks are and what impact they can have on a company when performed correctly. Short and very clear, this book should be read by anyone who is trying to strengthen the relationship between leaders and managers and the folks working out on the production line.
Bremer demonstrates his knowledge by thoroughly explaining how to perform Gemba Walks complete with examples, charts and even sample questions that first time Gemba Walkers can use when they go out on their first walk. But beyond just how to do a Gemba Walk, Bremer clearly defines why Gemba Walks are important, and it isn’t just for better information flow between the line and the office. True, Gemba Walks greatly increase the flow of information between management and the line such as goals, vision or any upcoming events that might affect production as well as information flowing from the line to managers such as areas that restrict flow and improvement opportunities, but, according to Bremer, truly successful Gemba Walkers are coaches who ask the right questions to their workers in order to get that worker into a more critical mindset who can then see improvement opportunities on their own. And, as Bremer repeatedly points out, this is done through respect in order to foster a relationship where employees can feel free to speak their minds and be honest.
Going to the Gemba is one of the most effective things that a leader can do. The Gemba is the true heart of any business. Knowing as much as possible about the process and, not just how the process works but also who is doing it and what is inhibiting it or where it can be improved, is invaluable for leaders. For this reason, I highly recommend reading Ho to do a Gemba Walk for anyone who is interested in improving their production process