Anyone who has been in the business world for any period has heard of continuous improvement. The concept is self-explanatory and pretty simple. What is less obvious is how many of the benefits of continuous improvement are connected. One benefit can directly influence the other and, as a result, several advantages of continuous improvement can have a snowball effect.
Methodologies of continuous improvement
LEAN methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma focus on optimizing resources, people, and removing processes that do not add any value to the final output. They specifically aim to remove variation and waste from the process. To demonstrate, the primary focus areas are represented by the DOWNTIME acronym.
Not every business strategist uses a formal program or methodology. This is because setting up an official program isn’t required to reap the benefits of continuous improvement. A concerted effort to evaluate your global strategy and leadership operations is all that is essential. It is even better if business strategists are well-versed in LEAN concepts. Sometimes that’s as simple as watching and evaluating a process to identify where resources and time are being wasted. These principles do not just apply in a distribution or manufacturing environment. You can use them in any business environment. LEAN concepts can be applied in any business and to any task. It doesn’t matter what sector you’re in because these principles can be applied to everything from dentistry, manufacturing to the banking industry.
Benefits of continuous improvement
- More efficient operations
- Higher productivity
- Shorter delivery times
- More competitive products and services
- Lower employee turnover
Efforts of continuous improvement in one area can certainly have a direct impact on others.
More efficient operations
Business strategists will witness more efficient operations, when unnecessary tasks and time-consuming components are removed, organizational processes become more effective and efficient. Once again, business leaders don’t necessarily have to implement a formal program. However, they do need to understand the concepts enough to identify where they can make changes.
When business strategists eliminate steps that don’t add value, the process becomes much more efficient. This added efficiency naturally reduces the time it takes to complete a given task. As a result, businesses will be able to complete more tasksin thesame amount of time.
Shorter delivery times
When lesser time is taken to produce a product, business strategists can get it into customers’ hands sooner. The faster the production, the faster the product is ready, and the sooner it can be delivered to the waiting customer. The result is a shorter overall lead time for customers.
More competitive products and services
Continuous improvement drives both the products and processes. Organizations that look for ways to enhance their operations will invariably increase the value of their services and products. This will lead to more sophisticated and economically competitive offerings.
Lower employee turnover
Turnover in companies is very expensive and adversely hits the capital. This is because the organization must pay for recruiting, hiring, and training new candidates to do the job. In many jobs, it can take a lot of on-the-job training for an employee to attain the necessary experience to excel at his job. A continuous improvement culture will reduce turnover rates and boost employee engagement. Employees who actively participate in the betterment of the organization gain a sense of accomplishment. This leads to few reasons to leave the company and a greater sense of belonging.