Gemba walk or process walk

Gemba walk is also known as Genba walk and process walk.

The word ”Gemba” comes from Japanese and means ”the real place” or ”the most valuable place”, where value is created. This place usually isn’t the office of the manager, but the site where production happens.

”Gemba walk” is an event where a person in the management level does trips to the ”field” where their subordinates work. You collect information on possible improvements, make observations on problems and wasteful activities, and document them. The object is to find improvement opportunities and later inform workers after solutions have first been come up in a separate committee.

”Get to know the activity, recognize the waste, come up with a solution and share it with the workers. As a result, the work and production increase in performance and profits grow.”

Benefits of Cleverday in Gemba walk in short

Gemba walks can be documented conveniently with your phone by using Cleverday. You can observe, document, and understand the processes of your organization and everything can be saved in one place where it can be shared with new instructions to workers, in digital form.

The workers can give real-time feedback on the new instructions on the mobile app. As the result, the instructions can be made to work by updating them through the app, based on the received feedback.

You can forget the printed instructions and PDF files and improve work in a modern way with the Cleverday app, and also decrease the wasted time used in process walks.



What is Gemba walk about and what is ”Muda”?

Gemba or Genba, depending on the translation, is a tool created by a Japanese production engineer and businessman Taiichi Ohno (大野耐一, Ōno Taiichi), to help improve manufacturing processes.

Ohno is considered the father of the production process of car manufacturer Toyota (Toyota Production System, TPS). Ohno has written broadly about one of the key concepts of Lean process philosophy, ”the seven wastes”, or ”Mudas”.

Muda is an important part of Lean thinking, a philosophy where the entire personnel is included in the planning of the production process. By including everyone, all kinds of extra work can be eliminated to maximize profits, customer satisfaction, and work safety.

What Ohno meant with wastes are activities that are completely useless when it comes to customer satisfaction and eat profits:

1. Logistics

Extra transportation of products that is not needed in the completion of the process.

Waste: wastes time and money.

2. Inventory

All components, unfinished and end products that are not currently being processed.

Waste: It’s an extra investment.

3. Motion

Unneeded movement of personnel or equipment.

Waste: takes time and exposes to injuries meaninglessly.

4. Waiting

Waiting for the next part of the process or queueing.

Waste: waste of time.

5. Overproduction

Production that surpasses the demand and storaging.

Waste: brings extra costs.

6. Overprocessing

Processing the end product more than what’s needed. It’s often due to the poor design of tools and/or products.

Waste: causes extra work and a product of poor quality.

7. Defects

Looking into defects and fixing them and possibly even re-manufacturing.

Waste: causes extra work and costs.

Ohno came up with Gemba walk through Lean thinking to help managers understand production processes by seeing them with their own eyes. There’s often a broken connection between management level and workers, resulting in managers thinking about manufacturing only in results and numbers.

The idea of Gemba walk is to go to the production line in a neutral mentality and collect information on problems and work hazards among other things. The walk has to happen in a relaxed manner without giving the workers the pressure of an audit or surveillance. The relaxed atmosphere also helps the workers to tell their honest takes on the process and possible problems.

You’re not supposed to give feedback or solutions during the walk but share the results with a committee, specifically founded for this purpose. The committee can consist of experts and relevant management-level personnel. In this group, the suggestions are carefully reflected on and are based on expertise. The management-level personnel also know whether suggested solutions are executable.

With Gemba walks, the company decreases the amount of possible work-related accidents, increases worker wellbeing, improves productivity by eliminating wasteful processes, and management-level personnel has a better understanding of how value is formed.


Gemba walk examples


Paris Ouest Construction

A construction company from Paris, Paris Ouest Construction, has taken Gemba walks as part of their activities and the CEO, Jean Baptiste Bouthillon, uses 40% of his time at work for Gemba walks in his construction sites. He asks his employees to list at least one problem and a solution suggestion per day.

After implementing Gemba walks, the company increased their contracts finished in time from 40% to 80%, work-related accidents decreased in numbers and their seriousness, and carbon emissions of the company have decreased by 47%.

UD Trucks

UD Trucks is a Japanese vehicle manufacturer and it produces cargo trucks among other vehicles. The company has implemented Gemba in various different levels and has also uploaded videos on Gemba walk to Facebook and YouTube.


Amazon has for a while utilized Gemba walks. Employees can always leave a feedback form that must be addressed by a manager as soon as possible. For example in one of Amazon’s facilities in Spain, management-level personnel do rounds every day at 9.15 in the morning and in 2015 the facility made 1000 improvements.

Digitalize Gemba walks with Cleverday

You can easily execute the process walk with Cleverday:

  • Planning of the Gemba walk
  • Document and write down observations
  • Share observations and instructions to stakeholders
  • Collect feedback and improve the instructions in real-time

After coming up with solutions to the shortcomings found during the Gemba walk, you can share the updated process in the form of a quick how-to guide through the mobile app to the employees. The same guide can be used in the orientation of new employees.

Create a Gemba walk template in the Cleverday app

By using Cleverday’s features, you create a template for Gemba walks. The steps set in the template can be:

  • Objective
  • Familiarizing with the process
  • Preparations
  • Visualizing
  • Assessing problems

You can write down to every step, what has to be remembered during the walk and what observations have been made.

Cleverday app brings all kinds of benefits for the company: improvable processes and observed matters can easily be written down in the form of a list and observations can be documented in the same place in the forms of different media, such as photographs and videos.

Sharing the how-to guide to the entire organization happens easily with one pressing of a button. Everyone who received the guide can go through it on mobile platforms, wherever and whenever they want.

Electronically shared guides are a notably better option than slow, clumsy, and resource-wasting traditional paper forms. However, the most important aspect of these guides are the ability to improve them based on feedback. You don’t have to print new paper forms when electrical guides can be updated in the mobile app.

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