WayCool Leading the Future of Supply Chain Management with GEMBA

Amrit Bajpai

What gets measured gets managed and improved as well! To measure, one needs to keep track of work being done and the value being created, continuously. This becomes a huge challenge when there is a dearth of information which unfortunately is the case usually.  A few charts, tables or calculations may not be enough to give clear insight at the level of individual workstations. Enter GEMBA, the game changer. A Japanese concept meaning “real place”, GEMBA helps capture vital data where people can see the scope of improvement while visiting the actual seat of operations. 

At WayCool, GEMBA is placed strategically at distribution centres. 

Using the GEMBA technique, or the “GEMBA walk”, our WayCool warriors learn about the nature of work done at the distribution centres. A GEMBA walk is the process of being present at the actual place where the work is done, to see it for themselves and to understand it from the perspective of the person doing it. At WayCool, this helps us focus on eliminating waste from our operations as it is the also centre of our ethos. 

GEMBA walk: ‘Go see, ask why, show respect.

It is important to understand what a GEMBA walk entails. There are three key points to be noted here:

Go and see: The GEMBA walk helps managers learn about and deliberate over inefficiencies while regularly walking around our distribution centres. This gives them the chance to tackle the problem before it results in any loss.

Ask why: To identify the problems in the process, one must use effective communication to thoroughly examine the work done, converse with workers and listen to why such inefficiencies are occurring on the floor.  

Respect people: It is important to note that a GEMBA walk is not an opportunity to blame people. Managers must respect the people involved and work with them. The objective is to evaluate the process and appraise the outcomes. 

GEMBA journey at WayCool

WayCool believes in lean initiatives and GEMBA implementation across distribution centres is the first fundamental step. The concept was introduced in WayCool on January 1, 2020, and thereafter horizontally implemented throughout its distribution centres.

By sticking to the fundamentals and applying GEMBA’s basic problem-solving methodology, the team has managed to make improvements in several ways, including decreased dumping, on-time delivery, increased productivity and more.

Every day, a meeting takes place in the GEMBA area of the DCs, where the team discusses daily issues, determines their root causes, and implements a remedy for the particular problem.

Now, with apps and intuitive software, it’s possible to implement different TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). This makes way for a culture that focuses on improving the effectiveness of the process while reducing defects that helps to achieve the PQCDSM categorisation – Productivity, Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety and Morale. 

Targets are established, control charts are produced daily and in cases of any deviation, it is reviewed at the GEMBA meeting and core issues are resolved. Our distribution centres measure and present the primary KRA of our process at the GEMBA using the PQCDSM improvements. 

The competitive advantage of one company is a lost opportunity of another. WayCool stays ahead of the competition in terms of reducing operating costs by keeping our processes lean and eliminating all process bottlenecks through daily GEMBA sessions. We are working on developing a digital GEMBA in which measurements are automatically gathered from our systems and issues are regularly addressed with action points. In the process of building 'state-of-the-art' agri-supply chain to feed the future, WayCool respects the value of the GEMBA concept in new ways supported by a comprehensive futuristic tech stack. 

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