Continuous Improvement and Digital
Continuous Improvement (C.I) requires thoughtful planning, implementation, follow-up study (checking), planned revisions and more follow-up study before implementation (acting) occurs. C.I is a widely accepted and expected scientific approach to learning and applying value-adding knowledge in business processes.
However, as with many other best practices, these accepted processes are now being challenged and re-evaluated thanks to the existence of 2 key factors: the digital and the technological.
In an era when not being aware of digital progress can mean the difference between basic survival and growth for many organisations, not paying attention when planning and acting towards Continuous Improvement is short-sighted.
In light of the fact more people both internal and external to your business will be garnering information on your practices and future developments from the digital space, having updated processes for breaking down barriers to quality, productivity, safety and human performance need to be as agile as possible.
The idea of Continuous Improvement in the digital age doesn’t mean the core goal is different. Everybody still wants to get better all the time, but the path we take to get there needs to match the new goal posts we have to encounter along the way. What does it take to be good at digital from a Continuous Improvement perspective? There are a few key elements for all organisations to keep in mind, regardless of their industry, manufacturing background or assumed future trajectory.
- Keep changes at a manageable rate to understand shifts and improvements:
The trap with the push towards everything becoming more digital is that it can seem that everything needs to be upheaved at once to achieve maximum improvement. However, just as changes to traditional processes need to be done systematically to uncover the root of the lag in performance, so too should it be with digital processes and changes. For example, if your website is in need of an upgrade, think about the job as many elements as opposed to one large whole. Changing the copy, imagery or basic user experience may all add up to a more improved platform, but the real cause of the existing problem can’t be understood if all of these are changed dramatically at once. The more discrete and isolated a change, the easier it is to measure against the rest of your systems and practices.
- Embrace analytics and testing:
Digital advances are, by their nature unpredictable. A truly controlled environment is almost impossible to encounter as there are too many factors interacting at once. However, the more information you have and the more experience under different conditions you have encountered will help you to better predict the outcome. By embracing the analytical recording of performance of certain content, actions or changes alongside solid A/B testing, you will already have a clearer understanding of what parts of your strategy are working and what others can be phased out over time.
- Apply a wide angle problem-solving lens to both opportunities and threats:
Digital performance is normally driven by two different systems and analytics: acquisition of traffic and content performance. These measures are continually focused on the movement of audiences, both existing and potential in direct response to your actions. As such, these two systems are inherently linked. Once you introduce other elements such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to the mix, the equation becomes an even more complex one to comprehend.
Organisations that work continuously to understand their audience, the nature of the traffic and the reasons behind the performance of it are one step ahead of the rest. By applying ‘outside of the box’ thinking to audience capture and retention, organisations can begin to better understand how to work towards improving their performance systematically, intelligently and not only reactively to the trends of the day, week or year.
Just as traditional Continuous Improvement needs to be consistent and informed, so too does any digital focus for improvement within your organisation. Take the Workplace Waste Analyser test to see where your organisation could enhance efficiency, competitiveness and profitability.