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    Going Green With Your Gemba Walk

    This is Part Two of our series on the Gemba Walk.

    Lean is all about learning and the Gemba Walk provides a perfect learning platform.  Use the Gemba Walk for more than just an audit.  Use it as a way to teach employees at all levels the basics of continuous improvement.

    In Part One of our Gemba Walk series we presented a simple Gemba Walk format and suggested that you select a theme for each Gemba Walk period.  We recommended you select a monthly theme that aligns with a defined key improvement initiative.

    This month’s theme is Environmental and Energy Conservation.  Let’s get started…

    1. First, consult with your local EH&S representative, share your intentions, and get them on the Gemba Walk team.  Who else is on the team?  That’s your call.  But make certain you have a good cross-functional make-up to include that one person that will make things happen (and at your plant you know who that is)!
    2. Next, develop learning objectives and questions to ask of the team.  For example, a learning object might be: “How becoming environmentally-friendly adds value to the customer.”  Simple enough.  A question to the team might be: “Name the Lean seven deadly wastes and list the environmental, chemical, and energy impacts associated with each waste.”  As you can see, the possibilities are endless and the learning’s a value add!
    3. It’s time to select a Gemba Walk route/area; for example, next month we will focus on the high-impact production processes.  Here is a good question for the Gemba Team: “What are the top ten most common high-impact production processes?”  What are those processes we will focus on in our plant?
    4. So then, with a defined route/area, what are some points-of-reference?  What are we going to be on the lookout for?  What questions should we consider?
    • Are machines left running when not in operation? Why?
    • Do we use energy efficient motors, pumps, etc.?  Why not?
    • Are motors, pumps, etc. sized to their use?
    • Are there air leaks in the compressed air system?
    • Is lighting focused where needed?
    • Are process heating temperatures maintained at standard work?
    • Oil leaks, fluid leaks?

    Here, too, the possibilities are endless.  Start with the fundamentals.

    Remember, the Gemba Walk is all about going into the workplace.  Pick a theme.  Make the Gemba Walk work for you!  It’s much more than an audit, the Gemba Walk is about learning!

    To learn how you can make additional progress with your Lean efforts, visit our website for other Lean audit ideas.

    This is the second in a series of Gemba Walk themes we will share with you.

    Future themes will focus on ergonomics, equipment, the office and support services, quality, outdoors and around the perimeter of the plant, and standard work.  We’ll also be addressing issues like team make-up and Gemba Walk action items.

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