- Making the loan application process simpler and speedier;
- Reducing the amount of wasted scrap at a manufacturing plant to cut down on resource costs;
- Improving online shipping systems to provide high quality, quicker deliveries and better prices.
What this means for your company is something that only you can answer, of course. If you had to stop to think for a moment on how you could improve even one thing, you should already be seeing the value in creating a culture that is rooted in continuous improvement in every aspect of your business.
How to Kick-Start Continuous Improvement Plans
How do you go about creating such a culture, and how can you implement continuous improvement within your company? Here are a few things to keep in mind…
- Training. Competency assessments and training tools for employees is one of the best ways to develop and maintain a higher level of skill, ability and even employee empowerment – all of which help to promote improvement from the ground up.
- Processes. How are things done in the company? Are there ways to improve current processes so that things can be done faster, cheaper and better? Reviewing processes and restructuring them for constant improvement is essential.
- Participation. Get everyone involved – even at entry level (and at senior level too). By working in teams and involving people in quality plans, there is a greater level of understanding, participation and responsibility.
- Problem Solving. Helping teams improve problem solving skills is also essential. By creating a platform for feedback, ideas and communication, teams learn how to think ‘out of the box’ in order to provide solutions that benefit everyone, rather than losing interest or passion.
- Ownership. True ownership comes with empowering each employee to care about their role within the company. By getting this right, you are effectively making each one an ambassador for your company, and giving them the chance to add real value in their contributions.
Creating a culture of improvement does not have to be boring either – do not overlook the value of social team building events, casual days, incentives and even spontaneous lunch treats once in a while. Companies that care about the people they have on board and care about working together for change are far more likely to see the true value of continuous improvement as opposed to those who implement quality management without putting their people first.