How to energize business competitiveness drivers sustainably through continuous improvement?
The economy demonstrates it every day: Only companies engaged in a process of continuous improvement towards excellence continue to grow and thrive. Continuous improvement is not a target: it is a never-ending process that must be constantly reinvented. The key success factor is the ongoing mobilization of all stakeholders in the company to reduce wastefulness (“muda”) throughout the value chain.
An excellence program is primarily based on:
- People mobilized around the founding principles of continuous improvement
- Commitment by each level of the line organization and each function
- Determination to achieve a significant and sustainable breakthrough
- Communications to promote change and unify the social body
- A learning organization that can effectively capitalize on results and quickly deploy best practices
The method used is a proven balance between “bottom-up” efforts aimed at mobilizing the field under front-line supervisors and a “top-down” approach driven by top management. For best results, this balancing of efforts should be reinforced by ongoing communication activities and training.
To close the loop, the program is monitored through the organization’s performance cycle.
Depending on the nature of the project, the toolbox can take the simplest form (such as basic problem-solving tools or PDCA cycle) or have a more sophisticated structure (such as the Lean and Six Sigma toolbox). In all cases, success factors include strong personnel mobilization and efficient project execution.
WHY USE TOOLS?
These methods and tools are used to:
- Continuously adjust production tools to the clients’ requirements, control process variability and improve availability factors
- Tighten material and information flows towards a leaner and more agile way of working driven by market demand
- Secure the full commitment of suppliers of goods and services through long-term partnerships
… and constantly adapt the organization’s ability to meet new needs and ever-changing customer requirements.
Performance breakthroughs in the areas of service quality, manufacturing efficiency and lead-time reduction can be achieved by launching a continuous improvement program. Performance improvements are commonly in the range of 20-30% for the Key Performance Indicator of the selected process. This ensures a quick return on investment for the program.
Regardless of the type of support I provide, whether for a step or tool, or for long-term coaching on a new program, my priorities remain unchanged: results at each step and knowledge transfer to the local teams.
EXAMPLES OF MISSIONS
- Assessment of performance improvement potential and cost reduction impacts
- Development of roadmaps to excellence
- Industry benchmarking, sharing with the best players in the industry
- “Training by doing” workshops on the process and transfer of problem-solving skills to local management
- Coaching of Continuous Improvement Champions and project leaders
- Audit of operational performance; review of the effectiveness of management systems