Continuous improvement is about making ongoing effort to improve products, services, and processes in your business. It is a powerful force when you have every employee think about problem solving. Instead of whining and complaining, employees analyze the situation and explore ideas to tackle an issue.
There are several key success factors to continuous improvement.
Devoting effort to identify root causes and develop solutions take time away from the day-to-day work. Given the busy workload, it might be difficult to allocate time for improvement work. Hence, it is essential to get support from the management team. Otherwise, nothing would be done. The last thing you want is to see the management team become a barrier for the effort.
The support also needs to be consistent with middle management. They engage and motivate their teams. In fact, the engine of change resides with those who keep the business running. Middle managers play an important role here.
Understanding of the big picture
There would be numerous opportunities for improvement. While an issue in one area could be problematic, the overall impacts could be relatively insignificant when looking at the end-to-end process. It is essential to start with the big picture, understand the overall goals and deficiencies that need most attention.
To do this, there needs to be designated individuals to oversee the improvement ideas, evaluate and prioritize them. This also helps to avoid sub-optimization, moving problems from one area to another instead of making real improvements for the overall process.
Involvement of people
Relentless continuous improvement requires engagement at all levels. It makes a big difference when you invite employees to participate in the conversations. After all, they are the closest to the problems. They know first-hand the issues and the effects.
Involving people not only increases the visibility of the issues, the feeling of being heard is an acknowledgement of their efforts in working with the constraints. When they are invited to contribute to improvement decisions, they value the opportunity. It is a powerful force when you have every employee think about problem solving. Click To Tweet
The ultimate goal of investing time and effort on continuous improvement is delivering value to the customers and the business. Customers can access quality service faster. Employees’ morale improves as their work becomes smoother.
Being able to track the improvements and share the success could not be underestimated. Hence, be prepared to track the improvements so that you can share definitive results.
By being persistent with the above, you gain traction with continuous improvement quickly. Ultimately, it is rewarding to see employees become interested, participate, and contribute to success.