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Morning Walkthrough Tips

The morning walkthrough sets the stage for a successful day in an effective company. Here are a few tips for leaders to take to heart when they prepare for a new day.

Morning Walkthrough Tips

  • Have a plan. Use a checklist. It should include any critical checks you need to complete each morning. These are most commonly safety related, but can be anything that will cripple production if there is a failure. Also include the general things you are looking for, such as making sure tools are put away, that there are no excess parts, etc. This part of the list should serve as a reminder of what to look for each day.
  • Arrive early. If production is already in progress, it is too late to prevent problems.
  • Bring a friend. Occasionally walk through with another leader to get a fresh set of eyes on your area of responsibility. It will keep you sharp. Return the favor.
  • Check your boards. Make sure they are updated and that there are no delinquencies on any action plans to correct problems.
  • Know what happened yesterday and what the plan is for today. It will help you avoid repeating the same mistakes.
  • Bring a rising star. Let one of your team members do the walkthrough for you while you observe her. Give her tips on what to look for. It will speed her development, plus the she will get to know what is important to you.
  • Talk to people. You’ll probably be starting when nobody on your team is around, but as they show up, ask them how things are going. Make sure to listen to your team’s answers. Then act on the responses. Make sure your conversations are not lip service.
  • Don’t surprise your team. They should know what you are checking. The morning walkthrough reinforces standards. It shouldn’t establish them. On the subject of standards, make sure you have on all required safety equipment.
  • Surprise your team. If your area is too big to quickly check it all (this applies to senior managers and directors), mix it up a bit. Don’t follow a set schedule. Teams should know that there is a chance might be stopping by every morning.
  • Dress appropriately. This is a walkthrough tip that can save you money on dry cleaning. Morning walkthroughs can get you dirty. Don’t let having nice clothes on be an excuse not to get on your hands and knees to look under stuff or dive deeper into a problem.

The final morning walkthrough tip is to make it a part of your leader standard work. It should be a fifteen minute or so process every day. Establish a routine that becomes a ritual. The problems you avoid and the industrial discipline you establish by being present each and every day will save you far more time than you spend walking through your areas every day.

I am going to finish with a shameless plug for my book, Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean? As I was writing this article, it struck me that employees that are not used to the ‘C’ part of PDCA could be put off by the scrutiny on their processes. My book covers many of the problems people will encounter in Lean, and help them deal with the challenges. Shameless plug complete…


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