The most basic tenant of continuous improvement is that everyone in the company must work together every day, in every corner of the company, to pursue perfection through small changes. The daily focus should be to practice the CI ground rules, 5S, waste elimination, and standardization.
Problems happen every day, same with safety hazards, quality issues, and many little things that affect productivity. If that is true, then why waiting to have a continuous improvement event (kaizen, kaizen blitz, rapid improvement event) to change things for the better? While small little improvements do not create the wow reaction that people like, these small wins add up, leading to significant changes.
For leadership, it is critical to practice continuous improvement every day because they are responsible for modeling this new behavior. Regardless of whatever challenges the day has in store, do not deviate from the new way of thinking.
One of the biggest problems of many companies is that people work in silos. Decisions are taken every day without any regard to how they will affect other departments. That is why continuous improvement has to impact every area, injecting the power of collaboration into everybody’s daily jobs.
Continuous improvement is part of everybody’s job, or at least it should be. When changing the culture from traditional to lean thinking, it is critical to make clear that the CI is part of everybody’s job regardless of the department, position, seniority, or any other consideration. Every day, every soul in the company should be finding a way to correct what is wrong, make their job easier or safer, or improving the flow by eliminating some waste.
Practice continuous improvement and change for the better, every day, everywhere, by everybody!