In many cases, managers spend too much time at their desks, in meetings, and on their phones, which means they often rely on others to tell them what’s going on in their factories. Not having the necessary knowledge of day-to-day occurrences on your shop floor can not only lead to misinformed decision-making, but also an increase in safety hazards and apparent miscommunication between you and your employees.
Thankfully, there are multiple ways of finding out what’s going on, one of which is known as “Gemba Walking”.
Developed by industrial engineers Taiichi Ohno and Eiki Toyoda in the 1950s, Gemba is part of the famous Toyota Production System and stresses the importance getting you right where the action is, and meeting the people doing the actual work so you can see what’s happening for yourself.
To start, pick an area of the factory and stand there for a prolonged period of time. Observe how your employees interact. Take notes and record questions that come to mind, some of which may include “Why are using this process for this task?” and “How can we improve on it?” These can be used in discussions later, especially those centered on devising improvement plans that can be implemented in the long term.
But the true power of Gemba Walking lies in the engagement that not only takes places between your workers, but between you and your employees as well. Rather than using it as a tool to spy on people or immediately point out the negatives, it should be used to gain knowledge, foster continuous improvement, and help sustainability through better communication and open discussion. In fact, when done correctly, people will look forward to seeing you on the shop floor, because it means you’re involved and receptive to their needs and concerns.
Another part of this method is knowing your purpose and having a plan. You’re not going to tackle the entire value stream process at once, so it’s vital to have a specific goal in mind when you go for your Gemba Walk (such as assessing the safety of one small area of the shop) rather than trying to take on all your factory’s shortcomings at once. One best practice is having a plan mapped out for multiple Gemba Walks, as this ensures your efforts aren’t redundant and you’re making the right choices in assessing what can and should be improved.
Finally, whatever you learn during this process will lead to potential ideas for long-term improvements. For example, if you observed an operator walking large distances to retrieve basic tools, you may engage in creative thinking with that employee to create a more efficient floor layout. Not only does this save time, but imagine how happy that employee will be once their job has been made easier!
Want to know more about how Gemba Walking and other lean tools can help you improve all parts of your business? Give MAGNET a call at 216.391.7766 or send us an email – we’d love to help you take the next step in improving your operations and growing your top line.
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910). It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.
The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for