Continuous improvement is the process of implementing ongoing changes to an organization’s work processes with the goal of enhancing efficiency in the operations of the organization. Gradual changes are easily adoptable in comparison with major changes implemented at once. Continuous improvements are introduced through training, mentoring and use of information technology tools. The ongoing changes lead to lower cost and increased performance within the organization, whereas large-scale changes are often disruptive to the flow of operations and costly. Continuous improvements in the workplace, therefore, minimize the need for sudden changes and ensure that growth flows smoothly.
Brainstorm on the viable approaches for improving efficiency and prepare a clear framework for enhancing production. List the particular improvements that you will introduce in their order of priority and indicate the time frame for each of them. Establish deadlines for achieving your targeted goals so as to create a result-oriented work environment.
Communicate the scope and objectives of the intended continuous improvements to all members of the organization. Use internal communication media such as notice boards, emails, departmental meetings and electronic newsletters to reach out to all members of the organization.
Train and mentor your employees to equip them with clear understanding of their roles, limits and privileges of their responsibilities in the process of continuous improvement. Ensure that your training and mentoring programs are gradual relative to your continuous improvement program.
Set the performance benchmarks for each of the performance-enhancing changes that you plan to introduce. This will enable you to monitor the progress of the continuous improvements, measuring the actual performance standards against the targeted performance objectives.
Begin introducing gradual changes to the existing work processes and resource structure. Encourage creativity and innovation, and eliminate wasteful procedures. Endeavor to optimize the use of available resources, then consider the gradual introduction of new resources such as information technology equipment.
Provide your employees with the necessary materials to fulfill the new performance expectations. Deal with process errors, but forgive human errors. For example, if the process is the cause of human error, redesign the process and train the worker in a new process that will enhance performance.
Do not set unrealistic goals, because this may demoralize employees and overstretch the organization’s resources.
- Provide your employees with the necessary materials to fulfill the new performance expectations.
- Deal with process errors, but forgive human errors. For example, if the process is the cause of human error, redesign the process and train the worker in a new process that will enhance performance.
- Do not set unrealistic goals, because this may demoralize employees and overstretch the organization's resources.
Paul Merchant started writing in 2005. His articles have appeared in “JSTOR Journals” and “Wileys Management Journals.” He is a certified public accountant and a qualified project management expert. Merchant holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Nairobi.