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Bulent Yusuf Jun 15, 2021 4 min read

Digital factory use case: 5S and Gemba Walks with NavVis IVION Go

Visits to the place where value is created is known as a Gemba Walk. Find out how NavVis IVION Go upgrades this important practice for the digital factory.

Professionals working in manufacturing often keep an eye on the shop floor as a matter of routine.

They may have to monitor production lines which are "always-on," for example, or they’re exploring processes for continuous improvement. Perhaps even both!

In this post, we’re going to talk about Gemba Walks and 5S in modern manufacturing, and the ways that NavVis IVION Go – an exclusive module for NavVis IVION Enterprise – can elevate your daily inspection route to a whole new dimension.

What is a Gemba Walk?

One standard strategy to check the status of the factory floor is to conduct a Gemba Walk. Gemba is a Japanese term meaning "the actual place", and in reference to manufacturing it means the place where value is created – the factory floor.

In Lean manufacturing, the belief is that the best ideas for improvement come from physically visiting the gemba, where a problem or bottleneck should be most plainly visible. The Gemba Walk is an activity that brings management to a live production area to observe the actual work process, meet with employees and learn how they work, and explore opportunities for continuous improvement.

Another application for a Gemba Walk is for quality management on the manufacturing floor. If a problem like a machine breakdown occurs, engineers will travel to the site to gather information so they can better understand the full extent of the issue.

Gemba-walk-Blogpost-1

What is 5S?

Another strategy called 5S is also frequently mentioned in relation to Gemba Walks, but the two are different. 5S is a framework for visual management that emphasizes the use of a particular mindset and tools to generate efficiency and value.

The 5S are five Japanese terms – starting with an S – that describe the steps of visual management. In Japanese, the terms are Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. In English, the five terms are localized as Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. In practice, this means observing, analyzing, collaborating, searching for waste, and the practice of removing waste. It also entails establishing a standard process that can be sustained over time.

While 5S doesn’t initially appear to have much in common with a Gemba Walk – it doesn’t specifically proscribe visiting the place where value is created – the two methodologies are often combined for best results in the workplace.

A Gemba Walk is a great way to locate different types of waste in the facility, for example, or provide a structure when trying to identify inefficiencies. A Gemba Walk can also bring a very important sixth “S” to the table – safety – helping to spot areas in the facility where this might be an issue.

How NavVis IVION Go can enhance 5S and Gemba Walks

So now that we’re clear on the terminology, how exactly does NavVis IVION Go benefit a 5S or Gemba Walk? In the scenario outlined in this video, NavVis IVION Go accompanies the production manager on their regular Gemba walk.

After locating themselves in the facility, the manager can quickly review the current status of production at this position via Points of Interest, plus data from previous walks and tasks which are currently open.

New findings can be documented easily with a few clicks on their smartphone or tablet; they simply create a categorized POI and add relevant information such as the name of the person submitting the report, a description of the process, and supporting pictures.

Points of Interest can also be sent to colleagues, quickly and simply, using standard methods for sharing from a smart device. These POIs can be accessed from within NavVis IVION Enterprise, where professionals in global supply chain, engineering and operations can make decisions with confidence using reliable, detailed visualizations of their factories and production assets.

All POIs have positioning information automatically attached, which helps the recipient better understand the spatial context of what they’re looking at.

But why stop there? The production manager can create and update POIs throughout the factory for all observations made during a daily Gemba Walk, Safety Walk or internal audit, and share them with relevant groups of people – or save them for a detailed analysis in the future.

Managers can also assign more complex tasks to a team, who can assess the report and decide on next steps, with everyone immediately understanding the precise location on the factory floor.

Wrapping up

With NavVis IVION Go, everyone in your factory will stay connected, whether they're on the shop floor or the office, all with one easy-to-use solution.

The goal is to support and enhance existing processes in your factory – not to hinder them. 5S and Gemba Walks continue to fulfil their original purpose, but with this positioning and collaboration app from NavVis they have been optimized so that knowledge-sharing can benefit those unable to visit the factory floor.

Reach out to us for a free consultation about how NavVis IVION Enterprise and NavVis IVION Go can benefit your organization. We’d be delighted to tell you more.