For success, businesses must embrace an effective continuous improvement process that benefits their organization’s finances and customers. However, traditional continuous improvement techniques such as Lean Six Sigma are often not long-lasting since improvement projects occur in silos and process-improvement statements are only anecdotal. Leadership frequently terminates their formal continuous improvement process efforts program since they do not see the big-picture benefits from these efforts (e.g., the organization is reporting the saving of 100 million dollars, but nobody can find the money).
The following corporate improvement process is effective and long-lasting.
Wikipedia defines a continuous improvement process as an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once. Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.
The question to address is how to create a system for accomplishing within an organization Wikipedia’s definition of the continuous improvement process.
What is continuous improvement in business
In organizations, many processes exist. Each of these processes has inputs and outputs. This process relationship is
The output response from a process Y is a function of its inputs Xs.
In an organization, the output of individual processes rolls up to affect the enterprise’s overall KPI and performance metrics.
Organizations benefit from incorporating a Y metric reporting system that tracks process output from a high-level system point of view that does not have calendar boundaries. For example, monthly reports over many years of profit margins, non-conformance rates, cycle times, lead times, productivity, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency. The referencing of this form of reporting is 30,000-foot-level for operational metrics and satellite-level for financial metrics.
30,000-foot-level and satellite-level tracking first assesses the process output response for statistical stability. When a process-output measurement is stable, it is predictable, and the report-out provides a prediction statement. If this futuristic response is not desirable, there is a need for process improvement.
Continuous Improvement Process Benefits
The benefits of an effective improvement process include
- Increased profit
- Reduced non-conformance rates
- Reduced waste
- Improved cycle and lead times
- Increased productivity
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increased efficiency
Components of an Effective Continuous Improvement Plan
An effective continuous improvement model and improvement techniques are part of a system that orchestrates the following so that the big picture benefits:
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Performance Metrics Reporting
- Business Management
- Strategic Planning
- Business Statistics
- Business Process Management
- Business Process Improvement
- Business Analytics
Roadmap for Continuous Improvement Process Implementation
A continuous process improvement book, Minitab and Lean Six Sigma: A Guide to Improve Business Performance Metrics, provides:
- A continuous improvement plan for improvement project selection so the big-picture benefits
- 50 continuous-improvement examples for improvement projects from this system
This book uses a free app for tracking process-output responses from a high-level point of view, i.e., from a 30,000-foot-level and satellite-level perspective.
The article “KPI Management: KPI Metric Reports that lead to the Best Behaviors” describes the benefits of this form of metric performance reporting over a traditional performance-metric-reporting approach.
This book also describes the syntax for using Minitab statistical techniques to provide direction on improving tracked metric performance. However, other statistical software can implement the book-described statistical analysis techniques instead of Minitab.
In addition to an enhancement of metric reporting, this book also describes the Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) business management system. IEE is a 9-step business management system that, among other things, provides a reporting of 30,000-foot-level and satellite-level with the processes that created them in a one-page report-out.
The IEE system provides the vehicle for implementing all the aspects of Wikipedia’s definition of an organization’s continuous improvement process.
Contact us for assistance with enhancing your continuous improvement process.