How to Implement Continuous Process Improvement

How to Implement Continuous Process Improvement. Continuous process improvement is a democratic approach to business improvement. Rather than imposing solutions on the people who use processes, it uses their support and expertise to improve them. With training and guidance, the employees learn how to think about potential areas of improvement and, if the appropriate structure is there, turn the improvements into a reality. Before you can have continuously improving processes you must implement this system.

Organize a steering committee to oversee the implementation. If continuous process improvement is going to be successful the whole company needs to be involved, but in the beginning it is helpful to have the committee ensure that efforts are taken from start to finish. Once you complete the initial implementation the committee can be dissolved or redeployed.

Identify areas of improvement. By analyzing and defining your company's processes you can find the ones most in need of improvement. Ask all members of the organization to make suggestions. All employees need to get into the habit of thinking this way. Remember, at this stage you are looking for processes that need improvement, not necessarily ideas on how to improve them.

Think of potential solutions for the problem areas that you have identified. Once you know the areas that need improvement, you can start brainstorming ideas on how to improve them.

Develop a detailed solution for one of the problem areas. Include a budget outlining what the process improvement requires and start target measurements to determine if you met your goals.

Implement your plan. Involve every stakeholder in the implementation process from the highest level of management down to the workers who use the process on a daily basis. You must make it clear that continuous process improvement is a priority.

Evaluate your solution. Determine if you met your improvement goals. Keep in mind that you must improve every process continuously and that you cannot achieve perfection with one adjustment.

Repeat with increasing frequency. Diminish the role of the steering committee each time. Completed improvements often point you toward new areas that need to be addressed.

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