15 Dos and Don'ts of Worksite Observation for Supply Chain Leaders


Worksite observation, or "going to the gemba" in lean terms, is a supply chain leader's powerful tool for continuous improvement. If supply chain leaders don’t "go see" and gather facts, they may have a misinterpretation of what is really happening in the workplace. This can lead to subjective decision making and ineffective improvement efforts. 

Ask yourself: Where are the places I need to go? How often do I need to go there? How much time do I need to spend there? The answers to these questions can become part of your leader standard work.

Here are 15 tips on how to make the most of your worksite observations:

  1. DO talk to everyone - be inclusive.
  2. DO focus on process improvement.
  3. DO go frequently and bring others along.
  4. DO ask “why” or “how” questions.
  5. DO be genuine and have fun. Share your vision.
  6. DO look for process repetition - if it doesn’t exist, ask "why."
  7. DO look for wastes, burdens, and imbalances.
  8. DO keep personal records in order to note praise as well as any issues discussed.
  9. DON'T bypass other managers.
  10. DON'T try to find people doing the wrong thing - instead, focus on the right things.
  11. DON'T disturb the work going on.
  12. DON'T ignore problems and requests - instead, follow up quickly.
  13. DON'T stay in one area for more than 30 minutes.
  14. DON'T be threatening - instead, be respectful.
  15. DON'T talk more than you listen.

Posted by LeanCor Consulting

blog author

LeanCor Consulting is a division of LeanCor Supply Chain Group. Today’s complex supply chains require vision, strategies, and innovative techniques to create competitive performance. LeanCor Consulting is a trusted partner for advancing end to end supply chain performance through diagnostics, assessments, and full implementation. Global organizations leverage LeanCor Consulting to develop vision and strategy deployment plans for improvement in all supply chain functions. We focus on elements of speed, cost, quality, and delivery, and are able to develop innovative solutions from operational experience as a third party logistics partner.

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