In Part V of the series on Driving Continuous Improvement, we discuss the importance of utilizing the right combination of Continuous Improvement tools. Once you have your program aligned with your business strategy and you have built a roadmap for implementation the Continuous Improvement team is faced with identifying the best tools to use for implementation and the roadmap for developing proficiency with those tools in the organization.
If you study Group50’s Business Hierarchy of Needs® shown below, you will see the required progress of knowledge, knowledge management and change management for creating a Continuous Improvement program that is scalable and sustainable.
The strategic and operating gap analysis done in Level 1 will provide the Continuous Improvement team with a full understanding of the issues to be addressed in the business if it is to fully realize its strategic potential. The next challenge will be to identify the projects and the methods required to address those gaps. Once done, the team needs to identify the tools required to accomplish those projects.
Focusing on one methodology for continuous improvement can limit progress, diminish innovation and restrain the organization’s ability to realize its full continuous improvement potential. There is a long list of tools that can be used and no one program has all of those. The needs of your strategic roadmap and the strategic operating gaps will dictate the required tools. The Continuous Improvement leadership team has a long list of tools and implementation approaches they will need to choose from. They include but are not limited to:
- Strategic Execution Process
- Change Management
- Six Sigma
- Value Stream Mapping
- Cascading Objectives
- Business process re-engineering
- Experiential learning
- Management Review
The scalability and sustainability of a Continuous Improvement program require various elements of all of these. Once the team identifies the appropriate tools for the company’s Continuous Improvement program, the team will need to develop an implementation roadmap. There will be various levels of skills in each functional organization and we take the approach that the most effective way to create proficiency with these tools is through experiential learning i.e. Deliver training for a tool or skill just in time as the project is being implemented.
Every Continuous Improvement program is unique because every company and its strategic objectives are unique. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that Six Sigma, Lean, or Lean Six Sigma etc. is all you need. You need to work with a consulting firm who:
- Understands the right set of tools, training and change management programs to help you develop and implement a Continuous Improvement program that is scalable and sustainable
- Has a full complement of training programs they can customize and deliver to your organization
If you would like to find out more about how Group50 can help you, call a Group50 Continuous Improvement expert at +1 (909) 949-9083, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or request more information here.
About the Author: Jim Gitney is the CEO and Founder of Group50® Consulting, founded in 2004 and focused on working with middle market companies to significantly improve their productivity by leveraging people, process and technology as part of a company’s strategic plan. He was a member of GE’s Quality Council, part of the team that developed and implemented Black & Decker’s Total Quality Initiative, has led or participated in over 125 Kaizen events and is considered an expert in Continuous Improvement. Group50 consists of consultants who have spent their careers in corporate America learning how to optimize businesses.
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