Skip to main content

What are you improving for?

The end result of an improvement usually reflects the planning and decision making that takes place at the beginning, when the idea is being developed. If there is no planning and the improvement is a stab in the dark as to what needs to change then the final result may not be what was expected.

The 'what are we doing this for?' question is a great place to start. Sometimes improvements are spotted mid thinking, so to speak, and if you work backwards just a little further you may uncover a more meaningful issue to resolve. This minor change can deliver a major difference in terms of business performance and is along the lines of root cause problem solving (solve the root cause and not a symptom).

The fact that an opportunity is present does not always mean that it should be improved. With limited resources it may be prudent to widen the vistas and see what other opportunities are also available. Many continuous improvement approaches struggle due to an overload of less than brilliant improvements which eventually clog the system by depleting resources to make the changes. A simple priority system / grading can help alleviate this problem.

The design of what the business can look, feel and behave like after a round of improvement activity may also help to drive the right kind of improvement projects. This is not saying that the opportunities currently on the table aren't valid, there is usually merit in every improvement suggestion However, prioritisation and focus are required to make business improvement meaningful and efficient and stopping to step back and evaluate your journey and imminent choices can save a lot of time and effort. Dead ends can be avoided!

If you are finding yourself stuck with making improvements for any of the reasons stated above then take a time out and decide how you want to handle your improvements and decide where you want them to take you.

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Deliver on Time with Smartspeed

Popular posts from this blog

The Kaizen Checklist is here!

Do you want to get better results from your Kaizen programme? Improve your business results quickly with my downloadable kit (including guidebook, workbook and templates) for only $39. Are you looking for a sustainable way to identify and implement improvements across your business? Practical improvement strategies The Kaizen Checklist is a downloadable kit that you can use with your management team to develop a system that suits your business and allow you to quickly implement Kaizen effectively at your place of work. This works great if you use it as the centre piece of your own internal workshop. The kit includes a 40 page guidebook, a workbook, four appendices and three templates. All parts of this kit are designed to get you up and running as fast as possible. If you are unfamiliar with Kaizen, let me stress that this is a simple improvement philosophy that is so much more than just  ‘a Japanese word for continuous improvement’. I’ll cover what it rea

Kamishibai Boards

Available to purchase here. Some tools are incredibly simple to use, and also deliver some amazing results. Kamishibai boards are a great example and are superb when you want some visual control over routine tasks. By the way Kamishibai is pronounced "come-e-she-bye" in case you were wondering! As simple as you could want it, a Kamishibai board is a T-card system that has red cards glued to green cards (so that each T-card has a red side and a green side). The red cards are for the incomplete tasks, where as the green cards symbolise that the work has been done. See the photo below of a board in use. On the red side of the card you write the name of the task that needs to be completed, and if appropriate you can include details of how the task is to be completed. This is not expected to replace standard operating procedures, but can be a good opportunity for an aide memoire. The boards can be organised for daily, weekly and even monthly cycles. They are g

Kaizen projects: being honest about being off track

Projects, especially improvement projects, have a tendency to get off track. There is often a clear distinction between projects for customers and projects for ourselves. If our improvement projects fall behind then our customers won't be barking at us; it is no wonder that if something is going to slip it is our Kaizen endeavours. For some people this can be a tough conversation to have. No one wants to be a 'failure' and pride often gets in the way. In my experience it seems that it is believed to be far more credible to ignore the requirement to improve than to admit that we aren't making progress. So, if you find yourself (and your business) in this situation, what can you do about it? Let me share with you two options to increase the visibility in your business around progress with projects and four options to help get your projects back on track. Increasing visibility Ok, no more hiding the status of Kaizen activities . This also means no more being precious about