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Beyond Gemba
  • Automotive, Manufacturing

Beyond Gemba

Guide your gemba walks with the GOALs 4 improvement method for more robust supply chain management

Quality Progress
March 2023
Volume 56 Issue 3
pp. 20-25
Bullington, Kimball, Welborn, Cliff
Belmont University, Murfreesboro, TN, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN


Gemba walks are known for bringing quality professionals close to the value-creating work being done. When doing a gemba walk, however, a professional might at first be at a loss as to what wants or needs attention and how to go about finding it. GOALs 4 is an improvement model expanding on or accompanying gemba that gives at least a set of starting points—emphasizing some initial patience with the process—that each begin with "Get out and" and end with "look, listen, learn and lead." The first, “get out and look,” is the point at which to find the seven wastes simply by watching or participating, for example. Listening to workers encountered while looking obviously follows, at which point hidden efficiencies or wastes rise to the surface. Having seen and heard, the answers might be staring the quality professional in the face, but otherwise, research, further questions and further discussions geared toward learning esoteric process secrets are probably next and necessary. Somewhere in between all these or fully after all of them in turn, the professional can probably find a place to exercise some leadership toward process improvement.

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