I have had the opportunity to learn many different things, of Japanese Senseis; tools, methods, and culture change behaviors etc.
However; avoid the “Blind Genba Walks” is one of the best methods I could learn from them.
The “Blind Genba Walks” obviously shouldn't exist but; it does; and it is described as follow: when the Management staff goes to genba (if they goes) and made just a friendly Tour, to see the good things; and avoid systematically see the problems on shop floor (for many different reasons), this promotes the “Blind Genba Walks” ; and as Lean Directors – Managers our job is to fix this immediately.
Here some Tips, to avoid this happen or correct the problem, if it’s already happening.
(These tips are based on my own experience; working with Japanese senseis, I don’t pretend convince you to copy this method; it’s just for your reference. ☺☺☺)
1. Describe to Staff Management the real purpose of “Gemba Walks” ; there are two mainly: the first purpose, is to be witness of improvements done by their people and see where the savings are coming from; and the second purpose is to detect abnormalities and areas of opportunities that needs to be fixed (3 M’s), basically next steps for continuous improvement. If you have done this already, do it again, as many times as required. Obviously this is a complement of the Kaizen Plan that , Lean – Directors-Managers have done already. (This is one example of the management support- Enrollment on the commitment, its like go to see your child’s game, its not just buy the ball or pay for the uniform; you must cheer and give him, advice on how improve his game next time.)
2. At this point the organization should have a “Genba Walk Agenda” already defined if not, please do it. However, we need to help the Management Staff to see the 3 M’s (Muda ; Muri; Mura ) please remember or take this in account “a training in classroom is not enough ; you need train them on the field (Genba)”. For that activities the Lean Director – Manager, must provides “Genba Walk Check Sheet” (please don’t confuse it with Check List its totally different). The Staff Manager must Use their eye to talk, see & listen.
3. The Management Staff may use two Cards (Blue and Yellow) Blue Card is Recognition Watch Card and Yellow Card is Opportunity Watch Card.
4. The Leaders and team members shall perform as “Tachibo”(立棒) (Listen, write and do), and correct the points that Staff Manager have indicated to fix immediately don’t wait for next week, if the Staff see this speed on their demands, them they will embrace the real “Genba Walk “because they see actions and changes immediately. This is one of the secrets to sustain Lean.
The real “Genba Walks” are key for the Lean Deployment implementation and sustaining.
Many Lean Managers- Directors don’t put many attentions to this activities, maybe because the Staff don’t want to walk the Genba, however my best advise is; not surrender to this problem; confront and demand to the Staff Management for their helps and cooperation, but when you get it, don’t wasted it; it is your responsibility as Lean Change Agent.
I hope this can help you in your next project.