Why Implementing Continuous Improvement Models is Essential for Businesses
In this day and age, who wants to stand still? In the business world, it is no longer an option. Gone are the days when established businesses could rely solely on brand recognition, consumer trust, and their go-to products and services. With terabytes of information at consumers’ fingertips, technology infiltrating every market, and constantly shifting consumer expectations and demands, companies can no longer rest comfortably on their laurels. They have to become more competitive, dynamic, and introspective. Companies must deconstruct their processes, identify weaknesses, generate goals and objectives, and change their mindset for increased productivity, better quality products, and reduced waste.
In short, businesses need Continuous Improvement.
What is Continuous Improvement?
Although the definition is in the name, Continuous Improvement, or CI, is an endless effort to improve a business continually – from the CEO and President to HR and Sales. A simple definition for an infinitely complex and demanding company-wide paradigm shift. When companies get it just right, they have competitive advantages in their industry; however, consistency is vital, and it’s not so easy to stay the course.
When companies introduce continuous improvement “programs” with names like Lean, DMAIC, Six Sigma Black Belt, and Kaizen, they are essentially telling their employees that they are Beta-testing a new concept that may or may not stick. This strategy is faulty in that continuous improvement is meant to be continuous! No “program” is in it for the long-game.
Technology keeps advancing, information is always becoming more accessible, and companies need to lean into the inevitable changes by improving the way they do business regularly. CI can be achieved without a formal model, but it is challenging to do so. CI models can help employers visualize their goals, organize their leadership team, and provide employees with strategic objectives.
The Long & Short of Improvement
Improvement usually comes in one of two forms: sudden breakthroughs or incremental advancements. Although breakthroughs will inevitably occur, continuous improvement usually occurs incrementally, over a long, long time. And that’s okay! Change is difficult, and it takes time for people to embrace it and buy-in to a new way of doing things. Eventually, small bits of improvement will become visible, but only after CI becomes a foundation in the company.
The Benefits of CI
Here are a few benefits of successfully implementing a continuous improvement model in the workplace:
- Employee Flexibility & Acceptance of New Concepts
One of the great ways to make a workplace more productive is to employ flexible, adaptable workers willing to learn more and apply new ideas to their jobs. With CI, employees will begin to look at new projects and opportunities positively.
- Increased Morale & Motivation
CI provides employees with plenty of opportunities to step out from the status quo and enjoy meaningful, rewarding impacts of their team members and the company. They will also be empowered to do more for themselves and the business.
- More Collaboration & Accountability
Collaboration is crucial to a successful business, and continuous improvement ensures that employees work well as part of a whole. They will learn to be more accountable for their actions and decisions.
- More Sustainable Practices & Processes
Bit by bit, business practices and processes will become smoother and easier to maintain, saving money, time, and sanity.
Continuous improvement is not an add-on to the ways things have always been done. Instead, it becomes how work gets done, and the benefits of implementing these models well will permeate the fabric of any business. For more information about the benefits of continuous improvement, or to enroll in a CI course to achieve a Six Sigma certification like the Six Sigma Black Belt certification or another CI certification, contact us at the Management and Strategy Institute today!