Anyone who has been in business worldwide for any period, will be familiar with the concept of continuous improvement. The logic is simple and self-explanatory and is all about continually improving your processes and how you do things in general.
Benefits of Continuous Improvement
There are several benefits of continuous improvement. Some of the benefits are, but is not limited to, the following:
- More efficient operations
- Higher productivity
- Shorter delivery times
- Higher yields
- Better quality
- Increased innovation
- Reduced cost
- Better working environment
- Motivated employees
- Increased brand reputation
Continuous Improvement Methodology
Lean methodology such as Lean Six Sigma focus on removal of waste that don’t add value in the final product. The primary focuses areas are presented by DOWNTIME that stands for:
- Non-utilized talent
Not everyone follows a formal method or program. That’s fine because following the formal methodology is not required to bring the benefits of continuous improvement. All that’s needed is to put efforts in order to analyze operations and apply thoughts based on common sense. Sometimes it is so simple as looking at a process to identify where resources and time are being wasted.
Furthermore, don’t make the mistake by thinking that these principles are only applicable in a manufacturing or distribution environment, as they can be used to add value to any business or industry from manufacturing to dentistry.
It’s all about process, not the products, services, or task you are engaged in. The lean concepts apply to any mode in any business.
Reviewing the Benefits of Continuous Improvement
Below we have reviewed and gone a bit mor in depth with the potential benefits identified above.
More efficient operations
The first and most clear benefit of continuous improvement is that it will make operations more efficient. When wasted motion, non-value adding tasks and time-consuming elements are removed, the processes become highly efficient and effective. Sometimes it doesn’t require to implement formal programs, but simply understanding the basic concepts would be enough to identify where changes could be made to improve.
When non-value adding steps are eliminated, it will make process more effective. A more effective process will automatically increase the productivity.
Shorter delivery times
When a product is produced in less time, it means that will make it to customer sooner. The faster products are produced, the shorter the delivery times.
The continuous improvement results in improving the process and will naturally bring the yield up when less defective parts or services are produced.
Improving processes result in better quality of products and services, which improve customer perception and reputation of the brand.
Improving processes are not only for removal of waste, there is always another better way to do something. Most of these innovations are small, but sometimes a completely new way of doing something is invented.
As it would be expected, when more products are produced in less time and with lower number of defects, the costs will naturally be reduced.
Better working environment
When work on refining processes is carried out through continuous improvement, it often has a positive impact on the working environment. It is because of higher expectations and set goals to continuously make things better.
Healthy working environments turn into happier and more motivated employees. Continuous improvements often make everyone’s life easier. It is not only good for morale, but happy employees are more productive and serve their clients in a better way.
Increased brand reputation
All these benefits contribute to increase the reputation of a companies or brand. Successful brands get loyal customers which result in new products can be easier introduced by building on previous products success.