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CITOOLKIT
Observation
Improving Operations through Observation and Gemba Walks
citoolkit.com
Introduction
Many managers nowadays try to resolve work-related issues while they are
sitting in their office or in the meeting room.
Observation 2
Attempting to resolve problems
in this way without visiting the
actual place and without seeing
what’s really happening is not
necessarily a successful
approach.
citoolkit.com
Definition
An observation is a data collection method used to gather specific
information about a process or a situation.
Observation 3
It allows the observer to collect
the data in a real-time manner
and at the location where the
data is generated.
By going to the Gemba or the shop floor.
citoolkit.com
Definition
It is intended to be a simple learning method to better understand the
actual ‘As-Is’ situation of the daily operation.
Observation 4
citoolkit.com
Definition
Ready made observation forms and templates can be used to help
collecting data and information.
Observation 5
BENCHMARK
CUSTOMER
PROCESS
citoolkit.com
Uses
Observation 6
Measure customer
satisfaction and
perception of quality
Acquire best practice and
benchmark information
Gather information about
a process or situation
Measure actual
performance against set
targets
Verify an existing problem
and understand the
actual ‘As-Is’ situation
citoolkit.com
Uses – Process Improvement
Observation is often used during process improvement and change
management initiatives.
Observation 7
It enables the observer to fully
document the value stream of
the process
It helps to verify an existing
problem and its possible causes
by collecting live data from the
actual place where the work is
being done
citoolkit.com
Uses – Process Improvement
Process observation forms can be used to record the observed data,
interview responses, improvement opportunities, and any other useful
information.
Observation 8
Process: Observer: Observation date:
Purpose of observation:
Step # Process step VA, NVA
or ENVA
Cycle time
(AVG)
Yield
(AVG)
Process map/drawings:
Total time:
Remarks/improvement opportunities:
citoolkit.com
Uses – Customer Services
Observation activities can also be applied in the
customer service environments.
Observation 9
Oftentimes, there is a need to go
to the customer’s site to truly
understand customers viewpoint
and how they experience your
products and services.
This is especially useful to identify customer satisfaction levels which will
provide valuable insights for continuous improvement.
citoolkit.com
Uses – Customer Services
The key is to carefully observe the reactions where there is a direct contact
between the customer and the product or service.
Observation 10
Therefore, it is important to train the observers and ensure they leave a good
impression on the customers.
citoolkit.com
Uses – Customer Services
A customer observation form can be used for this purpose.
Observation 11
Customer: Observer: Observation date:
Time entered: Time exited: Store/location:
Purpose of observation:
Product
#
Product description Stock level Time to
process order
Complaints handling
(Cases and minutes)
Exchange:
Payment:
Service:
Remarks/improvement opportunities:
citoolkit.com
Types of Observation
Observation 12
Extended
observation
■ ■ ■
E.g., day in the life
of (DILO)
Interactive
observation
■ ■ ■
E.g., Gemba walks
Silent
observation
■ ■ ■
E.g., collecting of
raw data
citoolkit.com
Silent Observation
In a silent observation, the observer is required to keep his eyes and ears
open, but his mouth shut.
Observation 13
Useful when
collecting raw
data
Takes only a couple
of minutes to one
hour
citoolkit.com
Interactive Observation
In an interactive observation, the observer is required to visit the actual
place in order to see the actual process, understand it, ask questions, and
learn.
Observation 14
citoolkit.com
Extended Observation
In an extended observation, the observation period takes a much longer to
thoroughly understand the current state of a process.
Observation 15
The outcome might be
a current state value
stream map
It may take from as
little as a half day up
to a week
citoolkit.com
Gemba
Gemba is a Japanese term that means “the actual place”.
Observation 16
It refers to the real place where
value is created and where
clients are served within the
value stream.
citoolkit.com
Gemba
Observation 17
In manufacturing environments, it
often refers to the shop floor where
products are manufactured
In the service sector, it may refer to
the actual place where a service is
delivered to the customer.
citoolkit.com
Gemba
It could be a factory floor, a construction site, a sales floor, or where there
is a direct interaction between the service provider and the customer.
Observation 18
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
A Gemba walk is one of the most important lean techniques to understand
the current state of any process.
Observation 19
It is going to the actual place
and observing how the work
is performed
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
The purpose of Gemba walks is to get closer to the work and to identify
potential areas for improvement.
Observation 20
The idea behind these walks is
that they allow you to make small
improvements many times,
rather than pursue a big
improvement one time.
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
Remember that Gemba walks are not just some boxes that need to be
checked.
Observation 21
They are steps in the journey
to continuous improvement
citoolkit.com
This should be an ongoing
practice in your facility.
Gemba Walk
Whenever possible go to the area where the process takes place and look
directly at the current situation.
Observation 22
LET’S GO TO
THE GEMBA
citoolkit.com
Waste Walks
Performing Gemba walks regularly is very useful to find the different forms
of waste and non-value-added activities.
Observation 23
Muda
Also known as waste walks
citoolkit.com
Waste Walks
Allows to gain valuable insights on . . .
Observation 24
. . . and discover where continuous improvement opportunities exist
Existing waste
Non-value-
added
activities
Variabilities
Out-of-
specification
conditions
Abnormalities
Bottlenecks Redundancies
Unsafe acts &
conditions
5S
opportunities
Positive
behaviors
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
It also allows to observe positive behaviors and good practices in the
workplace.
Observation 25
For example, someone who is picking
up garbage while walking and
throwing it in the trash (instead of
stepping over it).
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
Leaders and staff members are highly encouraged to regularly walk the
process in their workplace and apply Kaizen or other improvement
initiatives where necessary.
Observation 26
Gemba walks are valuable during Kaizen events
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
Gemba walkers must focus on something that is moving through the process.
E.g., products, materials, objects, tools, applications, information, etc.
Observation 27
As well as the flow of humans in the service sector (transportation, hospitality, etc.)
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
The goal is to find out what is really happening and not what is supposed to
happen or whether people are following the procedures or meeting the
deadlines.
Observation 28
citoolkit.com
Gemba Walk
Gemba walks involve interviewing people, taking their feedback, evaluating
their needs, and implementing plans and solutions that will effectively solve
their problems and organize their work.
Observation 29
People should view these walks
as to support them with their
needs and issues
citoolkit.com
Interaction with People
When talking to people, be empathetic
and supportive, and listen actively to
their concerns and suggestions.
Restrain yourself from providing
solutions or judgment and behave
more like someone who wants to learn
and support.
Observation 30
citoolkit.com
Interaction with People
Say hello to everyone and do this often enough and openly, so no
defensive attitudes are resulting from the walks.
Observation 31
Make it an opportunity
to say, “good job” and
“well done” as often as
you noticed improved
things!
citoolkit.com
//
Observation 32
Be on touch for the current
state of the Gemba and
allows to identify and
eliminate waste and non-
value-added activities
Gains insight into what the
process is all about and
how it really works
Creates a common understanding of the problems
and aligns leadership with the floor
Allows to listen to ideas and opportunities for
improvement from the process performers
Accelerates problem solving
and performance
improvement
Forces managers and staff
to work together at the
Gemba
Encourages learning and
continuous improvement
Allows leaders to be more
visible and creates
constructive relationships
Sets a great foundation for
effective leadership
01
02 03
04 05
06 07 08 09
Benefits
citoolkit.com
Benefits
Only by spending time observing the process, will you be able to see things
such as:
• How the process normally operates.
• How problems are normally resolved.
• How the process is managed and controlled.
• The differences between written instructions,
perceptions and reality.
Observation 33
citoolkit.com
Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations
There is no really defined approach to conduct an observation. You just
need to follow the words of Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho . . .
"Go see, ask why, show respect"
Observation 34
Whether you are observing a process or observing a customer, the following
guidelines can serve as a useful guide . . .
citoolkit.com
Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations
Observation 35
Clearly define the purpose of the observation and how the information will be used afterward
• Determine the specific information that will be the focus of the observation
citoolkit.com
Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations
Observation 36
Study the process or problem you are about to observe
• Review the procedures, instructions, metrics, and other relevant information, and
study the process or problem you are about to observe.
• Prepare an observation form for collecting the desired information.
citoolkit.com
Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations
Observation 37
Plan for the observation including timing, location and observers
• Get permission from the process owner or supervisor to conduct the observation
and talk to the people there.
citoolkit.com
Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations
Observation 38
Conduct the observation
• Visit the actual place where the process or problem takes place.
• Walk the process, collect data, observe deviation from standard, observe actual
practices, interview people, ask questions and record observations and
responses.
citoolkit.com
Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations
Observation 39
Take time to document important ideas and findings soon after completing the observation
• Process and analyze the data, review critical problems and escalate them to the
appropriate level if required.
citoolkit.com
Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations
Observation 40
Share what you have learned in your operational meetings
• Share what you have learned in your operational meetings, assign action items,
and include them in your improvement plans and Kaizen activities.
• Take the necessary steps to resolve the problem and improve the process.
citoolkit.com
Further Information
It is important that no assumptions are made by the observers during
observation sessions or gemba walks.
Observation 41
citoolkit.com
Further Information
Combining observation with photography can lead to even richer information
and adds much interest to the work.
Observation 42
citoolkit.com
Further Information
Sometimes there is a need to schedule multiple observation sessions so
that you can capture the variation in the process.
Observation 43
For instance, when
measuring the cycle
time
citoolkit.com
Further Information
Be careful not to confuse Gemba walks with auditing.
Auditing is all about ensuring compliance, while in Gemba walks, you are
looking to understand problems that are impacting the performance.
Observation 44
citoolkit.com
Further Information
Can be used at all stages of the PDCA cycle.
• During or after each stage.
• Continue the cycle with a Gemba walk to verify improvement then go and
look for another process or area.
Observation 45
Plan Check
Do Act
citoolkit.com
Further Information
Gemba walk is very similar to MBWA (Management by Walking Around).
However, MBWA is more about strengthening the relationships with people
and creating an environment of trust in the workplace.
Observation 46
citoolkit.com
Further Information
When the process is less visual (e.g., a transactional processes), ask the
process performers to share their system screens.
Observation 47
citoolkit.com
Do’s
Observation 48
Smile and be friendly
Welcome positive and negative
feedback
Engage with people and
listen attentively
Make people feel important
Ask instead of tell
Ask people about their needs
and problems
Greet people
Ask open questions to
promote dialogue
Thank them once you are done
Ask people what support
you can provide
citoolkit.com
Don'ts
Observation 49
Don't forget to bring a pen
and paper with you
Don’t focus on what is
supposed to happen
Don’t focus to see if things
are clean, tidy and organized
Don’t jump into solutions
Don’t try to resolve issues
while sitting in the office
Don’t focus to see if people are
present, busy and efficient
Don't forget to prepare for the
observation
Don't criticize management
and others
Don’t just waste time chat
with people
Don’t check whether people
are following the procedures
© Copyright Citoolkit.com. All Rights Reserved.
CITOOLKIT
Made with by
The Continuous Improvement Toolkit
www.citoolkit.com

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Improving Operations through Observation and Gemba Walks

  • 2. citoolkit.com Introduction Many managers nowadays try to resolve work-related issues while they are sitting in their office or in the meeting room. Observation 2 Attempting to resolve problems in this way without visiting the actual place and without seeing what’s really happening is not necessarily a successful approach.
  • 3. citoolkit.com Definition An observation is a data collection method used to gather specific information about a process or a situation. Observation 3 It allows the observer to collect the data in a real-time manner and at the location where the data is generated. By going to the Gemba or the shop floor.
  • 4. citoolkit.com Definition It is intended to be a simple learning method to better understand the actual ‘As-Is’ situation of the daily operation. Observation 4
  • 5. citoolkit.com Definition Ready made observation forms and templates can be used to help collecting data and information. Observation 5 BENCHMARK CUSTOMER PROCESS
  • 6. citoolkit.com Uses Observation 6 Measure customer satisfaction and perception of quality Acquire best practice and benchmark information Gather information about a process or situation Measure actual performance against set targets Verify an existing problem and understand the actual ‘As-Is’ situation
  • 7. citoolkit.com Uses – Process Improvement Observation is often used during process improvement and change management initiatives. Observation 7 It enables the observer to fully document the value stream of the process It helps to verify an existing problem and its possible causes by collecting live data from the actual place where the work is being done
  • 8. citoolkit.com Uses – Process Improvement Process observation forms can be used to record the observed data, interview responses, improvement opportunities, and any other useful information. Observation 8 Process: Observer: Observation date: Purpose of observation: Step # Process step VA, NVA or ENVA Cycle time (AVG) Yield (AVG) Process map/drawings: Total time: Remarks/improvement opportunities:
  • 9. citoolkit.com Uses – Customer Services Observation activities can also be applied in the customer service environments. Observation 9 Oftentimes, there is a need to go to the customer’s site to truly understand customers viewpoint and how they experience your products and services. This is especially useful to identify customer satisfaction levels which will provide valuable insights for continuous improvement.
  • 10. citoolkit.com Uses – Customer Services The key is to carefully observe the reactions where there is a direct contact between the customer and the product or service. Observation 10 Therefore, it is important to train the observers and ensure they leave a good impression on the customers.
  • 11. citoolkit.com Uses – Customer Services A customer observation form can be used for this purpose. Observation 11 Customer: Observer: Observation date: Time entered: Time exited: Store/location: Purpose of observation: Product # Product description Stock level Time to process order Complaints handling (Cases and minutes) Exchange: Payment: Service: Remarks/improvement opportunities:
  • 12. citoolkit.com Types of Observation Observation 12 Extended observation ■ ■ ■ E.g., day in the life of (DILO) Interactive observation ■ ■ ■ E.g., Gemba walks Silent observation ■ ■ ■ E.g., collecting of raw data
  • 13. citoolkit.com Silent Observation In a silent observation, the observer is required to keep his eyes and ears open, but his mouth shut. Observation 13 Useful when collecting raw data Takes only a couple of minutes to one hour
  • 14. citoolkit.com Interactive Observation In an interactive observation, the observer is required to visit the actual place in order to see the actual process, understand it, ask questions, and learn. Observation 14
  • 15. citoolkit.com Extended Observation In an extended observation, the observation period takes a much longer to thoroughly understand the current state of a process. Observation 15 The outcome might be a current state value stream map It may take from as little as a half day up to a week
  • 16. citoolkit.com Gemba Gemba is a Japanese term that means “the actual place”. Observation 16 It refers to the real place where value is created and where clients are served within the value stream.
  • 17. citoolkit.com Gemba Observation 17 In manufacturing environments, it often refers to the shop floor where products are manufactured In the service sector, it may refer to the actual place where a service is delivered to the customer.
  • 18. citoolkit.com Gemba It could be a factory floor, a construction site, a sales floor, or where there is a direct interaction between the service provider and the customer. Observation 18
  • 19. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk A Gemba walk is one of the most important lean techniques to understand the current state of any process. Observation 19 It is going to the actual place and observing how the work is performed
  • 20. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk The purpose of Gemba walks is to get closer to the work and to identify potential areas for improvement. Observation 20 The idea behind these walks is that they allow you to make small improvements many times, rather than pursue a big improvement one time.
  • 21. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk Remember that Gemba walks are not just some boxes that need to be checked. Observation 21 They are steps in the journey to continuous improvement
  • 22. citoolkit.com This should be an ongoing practice in your facility. Gemba Walk Whenever possible go to the area where the process takes place and look directly at the current situation. Observation 22 LET’S GO TO THE GEMBA
  • 23. citoolkit.com Waste Walks Performing Gemba walks regularly is very useful to find the different forms of waste and non-value-added activities. Observation 23 Muda Also known as waste walks
  • 24. citoolkit.com Waste Walks Allows to gain valuable insights on . . . Observation 24 . . . and discover where continuous improvement opportunities exist Existing waste Non-value- added activities Variabilities Out-of- specification conditions Abnormalities Bottlenecks Redundancies Unsafe acts & conditions 5S opportunities Positive behaviors
  • 25. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk It also allows to observe positive behaviors and good practices in the workplace. Observation 25 For example, someone who is picking up garbage while walking and throwing it in the trash (instead of stepping over it).
  • 26. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk Leaders and staff members are highly encouraged to regularly walk the process in their workplace and apply Kaizen or other improvement initiatives where necessary. Observation 26 Gemba walks are valuable during Kaizen events
  • 27. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk Gemba walkers must focus on something that is moving through the process. E.g., products, materials, objects, tools, applications, information, etc. Observation 27 As well as the flow of humans in the service sector (transportation, hospitality, etc.)
  • 28. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk The goal is to find out what is really happening and not what is supposed to happen or whether people are following the procedures or meeting the deadlines. Observation 28
  • 29. citoolkit.com Gemba Walk Gemba walks involve interviewing people, taking their feedback, evaluating their needs, and implementing plans and solutions that will effectively solve their problems and organize their work. Observation 29 People should view these walks as to support them with their needs and issues
  • 30. citoolkit.com Interaction with People When talking to people, be empathetic and supportive, and listen actively to their concerns and suggestions. Restrain yourself from providing solutions or judgment and behave more like someone who wants to learn and support. Observation 30
  • 31. citoolkit.com Interaction with People Say hello to everyone and do this often enough and openly, so no defensive attitudes are resulting from the walks. Observation 31 Make it an opportunity to say, “good job” and “well done” as often as you noticed improved things!
  • 32. citoolkit.com // Observation 32 Be on touch for the current state of the Gemba and allows to identify and eliminate waste and non- value-added activities Gains insight into what the process is all about and how it really works Creates a common understanding of the problems and aligns leadership with the floor Allows to listen to ideas and opportunities for improvement from the process performers Accelerates problem solving and performance improvement Forces managers and staff to work together at the Gemba Encourages learning and continuous improvement Allows leaders to be more visible and creates constructive relationships Sets a great foundation for effective leadership 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 Benefits
  • 33. citoolkit.com Benefits Only by spending time observing the process, will you be able to see things such as: • How the process normally operates. • How problems are normally resolved. • How the process is managed and controlled. • The differences between written instructions, perceptions and reality. Observation 33
  • 34. citoolkit.com Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations There is no really defined approach to conduct an observation. You just need to follow the words of Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho . . . "Go see, ask why, show respect" Observation 34 Whether you are observing a process or observing a customer, the following guidelines can serve as a useful guide . . .
  • 35. citoolkit.com Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations Observation 35 Clearly define the purpose of the observation and how the information will be used afterward • Determine the specific information that will be the focus of the observation
  • 36. citoolkit.com Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations Observation 36 Study the process or problem you are about to observe • Review the procedures, instructions, metrics, and other relevant information, and study the process or problem you are about to observe. • Prepare an observation form for collecting the desired information.
  • 37. citoolkit.com Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations Observation 37 Plan for the observation including timing, location and observers • Get permission from the process owner or supervisor to conduct the observation and talk to the people there.
  • 38. citoolkit.com Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations Observation 38 Conduct the observation • Visit the actual place where the process or problem takes place. • Walk the process, collect data, observe deviation from standard, observe actual practices, interview people, ask questions and record observations and responses.
  • 39. citoolkit.com Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations Observation 39 Take time to document important ideas and findings soon after completing the observation • Process and analyze the data, review critical problems and escalate them to the appropriate level if required.
  • 40. citoolkit.com Steps for Conducting Workplace Observations Observation 40 Share what you have learned in your operational meetings • Share what you have learned in your operational meetings, assign action items, and include them in your improvement plans and Kaizen activities. • Take the necessary steps to resolve the problem and improve the process.
  • 41. citoolkit.com Further Information It is important that no assumptions are made by the observers during observation sessions or gemba walks. Observation 41
  • 42. citoolkit.com Further Information Combining observation with photography can lead to even richer information and adds much interest to the work. Observation 42
  • 43. citoolkit.com Further Information Sometimes there is a need to schedule multiple observation sessions so that you can capture the variation in the process. Observation 43 For instance, when measuring the cycle time
  • 44. citoolkit.com Further Information Be careful not to confuse Gemba walks with auditing. Auditing is all about ensuring compliance, while in Gemba walks, you are looking to understand problems that are impacting the performance. Observation 44
  • 45. citoolkit.com Further Information Can be used at all stages of the PDCA cycle. • During or after each stage. • Continue the cycle with a Gemba walk to verify improvement then go and look for another process or area. Observation 45 Plan Check Do Act
  • 46. citoolkit.com Further Information Gemba walk is very similar to MBWA (Management by Walking Around). However, MBWA is more about strengthening the relationships with people and creating an environment of trust in the workplace. Observation 46
  • 47. citoolkit.com Further Information When the process is less visual (e.g., a transactional processes), ask the process performers to share their system screens. Observation 47
  • 48. citoolkit.com Do’s Observation 48 Smile and be friendly Welcome positive and negative feedback Engage with people and listen attentively Make people feel important Ask instead of tell Ask people about their needs and problems Greet people Ask open questions to promote dialogue Thank them once you are done Ask people what support you can provide
  • 49. citoolkit.com Don'ts Observation 49 Don't forget to bring a pen and paper with you Don’t focus on what is supposed to happen Don’t focus to see if things are clean, tidy and organized Don’t jump into solutions Don’t try to resolve issues while sitting in the office Don’t focus to see if people are present, busy and efficient Don't forget to prepare for the observation Don't criticize management and others Don’t just waste time chat with people Don’t check whether people are following the procedures
  • 50. © Copyright Citoolkit.com. All Rights Reserved. CITOOLKIT Made with by The Continuous Improvement Toolkit www.citoolkit.com