How long does CI take? That's a good question, particularly if you split continuous improvement into two parts; the thinking part and the doing part. If you have this clear distinction and you are short on time then fifteen minutes of CI thinking can take you a long way on its own.
I know when some of my clients are getting bogged down with their day-to-day work that even just a few minutes of thinking and decision making still moves them forward. They don't ever 'lose a week' by adopting this basic strategy.
With the thinking part out of the way the doing part is then sometimes easier to swallow. For many businesses this is the work that can be easily slotted in amongst the other stuff. Making sure that the business is focused on the change is of course essential to making sure it gets onto the daily 'to do' list though!
Small, repeated, efforts over time are what continuous improvement is all about thought isn't it? Forming the habit is one of the hardest things to do, sustaining it once the bigger management led projects have concluded. This mini-strategy really helps with that too.
So, CI doesn't have to take that long. I know what I would rather choose. Small, short and repeated efforts over the long term is usually more effective than irregular bigger bouts of activity. It's the results that count, so please find a strategy that works for your business in the longer term. Continuous improvement doesn't have to take that long...
...fixing MRP systems and re-engineering business processes