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. In Part IV of this series, we talk about using the best practices and best tools for your Continuous Improvement program. Continuous improvement best practices include:
- Tie the Continuous Improvement program to the business strategy
- Follow a framework such as Group50’s Business Hierarchy of Needs®
- Have a senior level steering committee
- Clearly focus on optimizing people, process, technology and cobotics
- Create project charters that are fully supported by management
- Provide JIT training to team members
- Set aggressive goals for each project
- Create clear objectives and metrics that describe success
- Celebrate wins
Every business should have a business strategy. It is the basis for justifying everything done in a business. The Business Hierarchy of Needs® provides a change management framework for implementing a company’s strategy. As a company’s Continuous Improvement program gains momentum, change management becomes more important because of the focus on optimizing the business at the intersection of people, process, technology and cobotics as shown in the graphic on the right.
Optimizing at this intersection makes continuous improvement projects more complex requiring more sophisticated planning and tools such as Six Sigma, Lean, Kaizen, Value Stream Mapping, Business Process Re-engineering, and other techniques to deliver results. It is important to understand the tools that are required for each type of continuous improvement project you undertake. More often than not, Kaizen or Value Stream Mapping will be one of the very first tools you use to implement a meaningful project that will impact the business. It is critical that continuous improvement project participants are provided the tools they need just-in-time. If statistical process control is important for a project, train the participants then, not weeks or months before.
It is important to set aggressive goals for continuous improvement projects so that they impact the business and provide all participants with a significant feeling of accomplishment. All stakeholders need to feel that they have made a significant contribution to the business and it needs to be quantitatively clear to everyone in the business that these efforts pay dividends. Don’t 5S the office just to make everyone feel good. It is a waste of the company’s time, effort and cash and a sure way to kill a Continuous Improvement program.
Lastly, celebrate the wins. This is a very important part of a successful and sustainable Continuous Improvement program. Everyone needs to know and feel what success looks like. No exceptions, and no one should be left behind in participating in a company’s continuous improvement program.
These best practices have been proven over and over again and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Every Continuous Improvement program needs to be an integral part of helping a company reach its strategic objectives. Only then will the program become sustainable.
Check out all articles on Driving Continuous Improvement:
- Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Introduction
- Part I – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Alignment To Strategy
- Part II – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Do Not Overdue At The Outset
- Part III – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Creating A Culture Of Strategic Execution
- Part IV – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Best Practices
- Part V – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Tools And Data
- Utilizing Continuous Improvement Tools At The Business Level
- Creating the Business Case For A Continuous Improvement Program Workshop
- Additional articles on Continuous Improvement in Group50’s blog
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About the Author: Jim Gitney, CEO and Founder, started Group50® Consulting in 2004 with the focus of working with companies to significantly improve their performance by leveraging people, process and technology as part of a company’s strategic plan. In 2013, he created Group50’s Business Hierarchy of Needs® change management framework, a fundamental operating guide to senior leadership teams, and was granted a trademark in 2015. He has held C-suite and Board positions in large and small manufacturing companies. He was a member of GE’s Quality Council, part of the team that developed and implemented Black & Decker’s global Total Quality Management (TQM) program, has led or participated in over 125 Kaizen events and is considered a subject matter expert in Continuous Improvement. Group50® consists of consultants from every functional discipline who have spent their careers in corporate America developing strategic plans and rolling up their shirt sleeves to get it done.
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