Continuous improvement is a management philosophy and system that organizes employees and processes to maximize customer value and satisfaction. As a total management system, continuous improvement provides a set of tools and techniques that can result in outstanding performance if implemented completely over a period of several years.
One of the most significant components of continuous process improvement is its goal of compressing time in every way possible. Figure 1 shows the phases in a continuous
improvement process. The specific critical assessment steps are given in Figure 2. The champion of the continuous improvement effort, generally a senior manager, translates the corporate vision into a mission and a set of goals and makes sure they are
communicated to all employees.
With continuous process improvement, employees become part of a process in which decisions are a team effort. In order to provide employees with the necessary tools, constant employee training must be the foundation of any continuous process improvement effort.
Continuous process improvement also requires a dedication to following through with immediate
implementation. Management must be tolerant, supportive and allow for failures. This demonstrates a total commitment to continuous process improvement.
Successes, as well as failures, should be published to show that the employees’ efforts are supported and to give them the momentum to try again.