BusinessModelSearchPerformance management and continuous performance improvement in particular are perhaps the most vital requirements for achieving international competitiveness and sustained growth at a business and enterprise level and at an industry, regional or country level. Continuous (and continual) improvement (CIP) is about the ongoing activities that enable processes, products and services to be produced and delivered more efficiently, at lower costs and with improved quality. These improvements can be of an incremental or breakthrough nature. Imai Masaaki (1986), in his highly recognized book on Kaizen: the Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, set the groundwork for small and consistent incremental changes that can be achieved through embedding a culture of change and often without great costs and risks. All labour units in this culture are continually seeking ways to do things better. The aim of CIP is reduce and eliminate inefficient and sub-optimal processes which result in higher costs and lower quality.
CIP requires effective project management to be implemented because it’s linked fundamentally to organizational goals, vision, governance and accountability.
To start a CIP program it’s useful to understand where the organization is now. This would typically include an internal review and/or benchmarking against competitors. Benchmarking is not a substitute for proper analytical methods such as capital and partial investment budgeting. It provides, however, a picture of the competitive landscape. There is no single solution that can be deduced from a benchmarking program. Every firm faces a unique environment and has a unique set of resources and needs a unique solution. Recognition of context is essential.
The steps in a CIP program would typically include the following:
● Create a picture of the performance situation now.
● Identify the performance gaps and develop an improvement plan.
● Implement the improvement steps and requirements.
● Evaluate the success of improvement activities implemented.
● Revise the improvement plan and steps for continuous improvement.
What can we do to enhance CIP in your country, industries and/or business?
● Design a program for continuous productivity improvement of at least 2%/year.
● Review the workplace culture for performance improvement and, as required, design a new or improved workplace culture, one which eliminates poor work practices. Leadership plays a vital role in workplace culture. Innovation is now mainstream.
● Review and design workplace and work practice systems to ensure the best and most productive people work at your site or business and are retained. This means providing support and incentives for learning and responsibility.
● Integrate continuous improvement into risk management framework.
● Follow through on balanced scorecard assessments to ensure internal and external stakeholder views are monitored and responded to with effective communication.
Our approach to building CIP:
● Review existing work systems and build the case for improvement. There is no workplace in the world that cannot be improved, no workplace that’s come up with the perfected set of requirements for innovation.
● Communicate the requirement for building productivity improving knowledge across the workplace and how to react to and manage that knowledge.
● Implement, measure, monitor, adjust and continuously review the CIP system.
● Provide effective feedback to stakeholders.
CIP examples