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Continuous process improvement

Continuous process improvement (CIP) is often grouped with the kaizen methodology. It is a process of improving the efficiency, productivity, effectiveness, and flexibility of your company. CIP uses customer feedback to help companies decide if they are producing quality products and if they need to re-evaluate their organizational goals.

Management is in charge of designing CIP and it is up to the employees to actually implement it. Continuous process improvement and kaizen essentially mean the same thing. In order to be successful with continuous process improvement, your company must be willing to work hard at inspiring everyone within the organization. You all need to work together to achieve a better way of understanding how the different processes within your organization work and what you can do to make them better.

CIP is not just something you can tell your employees to do and expect them to do it. If you just accept continuous process improvement, and don't actually do anything within your company, you will notice the small problems will continue to get worse. Each employee needs to do their part to make continuous process improvement work.

Overconfidence, poor planning, excessive spending, and the inability to properly promote products is often the downfall of several large businesses. Continuous process improvement will help companies avoid some of the common pitfalls and work toward a future goal. If you do not have the right employees or the necessary skills to properly implement continuous process improvement, try outsourcing. These companies can come in and fully train all your staff members on CIP and it will be much easier for your managers to learn how to follow-through with their employees.

A few of the important aspects of continuous process improvement are as follows:

Identifying problems.
Many companies have the necessary time, management and skills needed in order to implement continuous process improvement without outside help. Other companies have no idea where to begin. Here are a few key questions you need to consider when you are deciding to implement CPI:

  • Are our competitors receiving all of the customers even though we are working as hard and as fast as possible?
  • Do we have a good pricing model? Does our pricing model bring in enough profitability for the company?
  • How is our management? Does our upper level management demand better performance that we cannot achieve?
  • Are our machines able to keep up with consumer demands?
  • Are we working at our maximum capacity?

Hiring a consultant or a third-party company to implement continuous process improvement may be the best option for your company. Consulting firms will take a look at your floor plan, machines, sales, management, and other aspects of the company. They will help you identify the wastes within your company and can help you find ways to save money. Always look for a consulting firm that has dealt with manufacturing companies similar to yours. If they have experience with the right companies, they will be able to help your company overcome the small challenges.

Truly listen to the consulting firm and the advice they are offering. They really do know what they are talking about and they are giving you an un-biased opinion about your company. Try to avoid coming up with excuses as to why your company is operating a certain way. If you know there is a problem, admit it and start moving forward with continuous process improvement.

You may want to consider hiring managers that have training in continuous process improvement. They will be able to successfully implement and follow through with continuous process improvement, unlike staff members that have not been trained in it.

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