When you are at the gemba, you are watching the work. We like to say you are “looking for waste” and list seven, or eight, or ten different categories of waste that you are supposed to look for.
I think it is simpler than that.
An ideal workflow is smooth.
The product moves smoothly, without starts and stops, without sudden changes in momentum.
The people move smoothly. Each of their motions engages the product and advances the work in some way.
Machines do not interfere with the smooth movement of product or people.
Information flows the same way. There is nothing in how it is stored, retrieved, or presented that causes people to break their smooth rhythm.
When you watch the work, try to visualize what smooth would look like. Smooth has no wasted motions, no excessive activities.
Anything that doesn’t look smooth is likely the result of an accommodation, an awkward operation, poor information presentation, poor computer screen layout and workflow.
Just another way of looking at it.