Monday, January 21, 2019

Continuous Process Improvement

I use the terminology Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) a great deal. The words are somewhat self-explanatory, but it is easy to think of processes in terms of tools. However, CPI is a mindset, not a toolset.

CPI becomes the overarching influence in your business; a culture under which you operate. It helps you balance resources and determine the strategies for the optimal use of those resources. It is a disciplined way to operate.  Don't let the term discipline fool you; operating with a CPI mindset will embolden your passion and entrepreneurial spirit. And the mindset of CPI is contagious.

Because it affects everyone in the business, it takes time to fully land this mindset. But when employees and stakeholders find that the environment is more productive, when they feel part of something bigger than themselves, when they feel part of a collaborative environment, they buy in quickly.

Continuous Process Improvement is rooted in the Toyota Production System. The term for it in Japan is Kaizen. On a Toyota production line, an employee who sees something faulty in the process can pull the Andon Cord to stop that portion of the assembly line. That's when supervisors go to that station and discuss the problem and countermeasures to the problem. Plans are thus formulated with a big contribution from the employee who has their hands on the problem. This process is the basis for some of the most reliable cars around.

So that is Continuous Process Improvement in a nutshell. It is really about clearly identifying problems and formulating countermeasures.

Think about the implications Kaizen has for your business!

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