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Throughout 2021, I-Connect007 will focus on our theme, “X = Xc – 1,” in which we will explore continuous improvement in a practical way. Get talking about continuous improvement as a business method and the conversation often hinges around large programs and grand transformations. “Company culture” and “corporate transformation” are terms that often appear in these conversations. Often, it seems, continuous improvement is simply a huge undertaking.
The good news is that not everyone sees continuous improvement in this light. Continuous improvement methods can be scaled down; smaller, more manageable goals can be set. Continuous improvement can be implemented at a departmental level, team level, even an individual level. In their paper “How Continuous Improvement Can Build a Competitive Edge,” McKinsey & Company authors Carolyn Dewar, Reed Doucette and Blair Epstein write, “Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve all elements of an organization— processes, tools, products, services, etc. Sometimes those improvements are big, often they are small. But what’s most important is they’re frequent.”
Maggie Millard writes in her blog, “Improvements are based on small changes, not only on major paradigm shifts or new inventions… By approaching change in small, incremental steps, the continuous improvement model reduces the fear factor and increases speed to improvement.”
Jon Terry writes, “Sacrificing quality can rarely be justified by the ability to do something faster or cheaper. To maintain quality standards while cutting time and cost, companies turn to Lean ways of working, including continuous improvement.”
In fact, if your company is pursuing ISO9001 certification, continuous improvement is one of the eight key principles for ISO9001.
Continuous improvement “is all about ‘doing’ but it isn’t something that you do. It’s how a company operates. Continuously improving means creating a culture that pro moted improvement. As odd as it may sound, employees might be more aware of company processes than the management. Hence, it’s important to take everyone on board when it comes to improvement. The concept is simple, the process should include employees.”
To read this entire article, which appeared in the January 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.