The use of continuous improvement provides a process for an organization to develop and grow. Use of continuous improvement efforts can provide distinct advantages to a company relative to its competition. That being said, the objective is to develop a set of targets that require us to rethink new goals and focus our efforts on business productivity. There must be a unity of persistence, as well as an understanding by the team that there are always opportunities for improvement.
In order for continuous improvement to be effective, it must promote a sense of urgency, perfect skill sets in problem resolution and focus on strategic concepts; fast response, quick adaptation, and the exceptional communication that needs to be incorporated as a way of doing business.
Continuous improvement activities should be conducted by the whole company. Upper management must create and foster an atmosphere that will encourage any person to point out problems or raise questions freely. The goals of the continuous improvement program should be defined and progress should be reported periodically so that team members can understand their contribution to the goal.
The 8 main steps to an effective continuous improvement process are outlined below:
Continuous improvement projects should focus on a core goal, for example the reduction of waste, overburden, overcapacity, elimination of defects, shortening of lead time, or improving throughput.
After determining the objective, complete a comprehensive analysis of all the details to get an accurate understanding of the current situation. An appropriate continuous improvement plan can be formulated only through a precise knowledge of the prevailing conditions.
Next we will want to examine the most suitable means of achieving the continuous improvement goal. If the means are excessive, they will create waste; if deficient, they will overburden the existing systems. Speculation should never play a part in the analysis. An accurate statement of the problem is perhaps the most important step in developing the appropriate solution.
By reviewing all the ideas resulting from the brainstorming effort, discussing the issues from all angles, considering the possibilities and the degree to which the solution will achieve the desired goal, we can then create the best continuous improvement plan to meet the objective.
After implementing the continuous improvement plan, we will need to review results and evaluate the plan to determine its effectiveness in meeting the stated goal.
For more information on how Accupoint can help facilitate your continuous improvement efforts, contact us today.