Kicking Off Your Continuous Improvement Program

2 minutes, 42 seconds read

Kicking Off Your Continuous Improvement Program

What you will learn

  • Getting Started with Continuous Improvement
  • Kicking off a Continuous Improvement Program
  • Examples of Success

 

The only constant of the world is that it’s always changing, and this is particularly true in manufacturing. We see this in rapidly evolving technology and processes that seem to be always one step ahead of us. The key to keeping up with these changes is to invest time and energy daily to improve operations. While this is easy to say, in practice it’s a little more demanding. A strong Continuous Improvement (CI) program can help.

Getting Started

To drive the focus of your CI program, start with the most fundamental business principles: the customer is key. It all starts and ends with the people and companies who spend money in your company. Therefore, the first step in developing your CI program must be to identify and understand your customer’s needs.

Once you’ve established that satisfying your customers is the foremost goal, it’s time to encourage employees to speak up on how to do this. Collecting ideas from employees in an employee suggestion program is one of the best ways to learn what small changes can drive operational improvements.

Kicking Off Your Continuous Improvement Program

Is important to keep everyone up to date on the program results and continuously emphasize its importance. To do this, you must have a communication routine established within the company. Share resources through bulletins, screens and results meetings at least quarterly and make sure all associates know how to get involved in promoting the program through training or by making information about your program goals available within their departments.

Of course, the most critical item for a successful CI program is employee engagement. It’s important to keep the users engaged, let them know their ideas matter, so they know they are doing meaningful work. Every idea must come from the employees as a request to their managers, not the other way around.

Make sure to implement selected ideas as soon as possible. This shows employees that you’re serious about making improvements. Be sure to provide feedback, even if you decide an idea is not right for implementation at this time or if there are policies in place that may conflict with the suggestion. Let employees know you’ve received their input and make sure they understand the reasons behind suggestions being turned down, so they can incorporate that feedback into future suggestions.

Continuous improvement consists of small, incremental changes, but these small changes pave the way for getting your full workforce onboard with process improvement. Let employees know that now is their chance to speak up about what the company needs to do to improve.

It may take a while to see results from your CI program. But with regular incremental results and continuous communication, you’ll find the program’s slow progress builds until the entire organization becomes committed to finding new ways to thrive in the ever-changing world.

 

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