Skip to main content

A Continuous Improvement Strategy Makes All the Difference

I see two different types of businesses that engage with Continuous Improvement.
  1. Those that focus on problems only.
  2. Those that have an ability to move towards excellence.
The challenge that I see, for those organisations that want to move from category 1 to category 2, is depicted in the diagram below:



Continuous Improvement Strategy and continuum

Being able to know what to do once you get past your immediate problems makes a huge difference to the overall effectiveness of your continuous improvement efforts and your eventual business performance. This kind of shift requires you to develop a continuous improvement strategy for your business that is based on more than just fixing today's problems.

Here are some quick ideas for you:
  • You could take generic challenges and decide to undertake root cause problem solving on them and not stop with your improvement projects until the challenge has gone.
  • Use your existing business metrics as a springboard for continuous improvement projects and use them as a stimulus for improvement ideas. Creating a rota / schedule can help you to move gradually around your topics, giving you enough time to make tangible change.
  • Use the 'Voice of the Customer' as a way of finding out what needs to be changed and using that as a priority system. There are lots of ways to get information from your customers without having to tell them that you have lots to improve (they probably know already!) and the willingness of your business to actively source feedback (however negative) will not go unnoticed.

Developing a strategy to identify, prioritise and implement change is as important as the changes themselves.


If you don't already have a continuous strategy for your business then I urge you to think about it very soon. With a good strategy you can direct your energies and resources more effectively and the results you can achieve can be astounding.

Continuous Improvement Strategy
Available from Amazon and iTunes
I have seen many businesses work like busy fools in the name of continuous improvement and I have also seen shrewd decisions being made about which improvements to go after. Their results are worlds apart and yours can be too.

If you need some additional ideas for your continuous improvement strategy and plans then I recommend that you pick up a copy of my book Effective Continuous Improvement, available from Amazon and iTunes.

Good luck with developing your continuous improvement strategy,


Giles




About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.


Subscribe to my email updates and receive my on time delivery and productivity improvement guide:



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