When you make an improvement in your business, how do you finish it?
Do you have a checklist of tasks you carry out, or do you claim that you're done?
Many businesses take the latter approach. The question is, when is your task really finished? Having a close down approach to your improvements is key to sustainable benefits.
If you recall PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act), this is very much an 'Act' issue. You've planned your improvement, you've delivered it and checked the results. Unless you need to improve the change, tying it into your business is critical.
The risk, if you don't do this, is that you lose the improvement. People are busy. Minds are busy. Trying to remember the new method of working is at risk (I find that many changes disappear within two weeks). This is the case when the new method isn't a daily task!
What can you do to help tie in your improvement to your 'business as usual'?
Two practical options are:
- Develop a formal routine to capture all the items you need to carry out. This should include the new improvement, of course!
- Link your improvement into a formal management system (such as ISO 9001 etc...) that gets reviewed and used by your team.
Tying your improvements into your business isn't complicated. Being effective is the goal.
About the author:
Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and embracing Kaizen.
Giles is also the author of Effective Root Cause Analysis and 'What Does Good Look Like?'.