Skip to main content

Continuous Improvement Is All Around Us

Some businesses haven't grasped the idea of continuous improvement including a progression of small incremental changes.

These businesses don't do continuous improvement, they do one off improvements. Their improvements are small in number but large in terms of change. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.

This is OK, I wouldn't dream of condemning this approach; after all, it is just an approach.


But, there are improvements all around - small and large. A simple conversation with a colleague can bring forth a whole range of improvement opportunities. Some will be quick to implement and give great benefits.

If you have ever read up on the subject of 'Kaizen' you will know that it is more than just another word for continuous improvement. It's focus on tiny steps helps many people along their journey to make improvements for their business.

On of my client's mentioned my touch typing ability the other day. They thought it was strange that I could do it, my response was that this was an improvement in my particular world (and probably for anyone who uses a keyboard during their day to day work!). I spend a significant portion of my time with correspondence and writing blog posts like this one. Why wouldn't I want to upgrade my ability to perform this task and in the process save myself a considerable amount of time.

Continuous improvement opportunities are all around us. Our ability to recognise them, capture them, evaluate them and then execute them is the trick. Continuous improvement should be, after all, continuous - and with an abundance of ideas and opportunities at our finger tips there is no reason why this cannot be the case.

So, if your continuous improvement activities are still focused on a few occasional large 'innovation' projects then it might also benefit you to see what else you could do with the abundance of smaller opportunities that are all around you.


Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering

Popular posts from this blog

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

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