What to Expect from a Continuous Improvement Training Course
Faced with increased competition and globalisation, organisations are charged with a pressing need to change and diversify if they are going to remain profitable and competitive. In addition, successful businesses must also have standardised and systematic methods of operating to enable:
- Best practice operations
- Ability to deliver products/services on time and in full
- Capability of diversifying products/services to meet the changing market.
Taking inspiration from Japanese Lean improvement programs in organisations such as Toyota, a quality training program embeds the philosophy of ‘Continuous Improvement’ into the culture of an organisation and ensures Lean processes and systems are a part of the everyday running of businesses. The pursuit of improved performance revolves closely around enhancing existing systems and processes whilst introducing new ideas, skills and products.
Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness from the Ground Up
Continuous Improvement approaches have become fundamental to the effectiveness of modern business organisations. A high quality Continuous Improvement approach will target the following areas:
- Upskill workers on how to identify waste
- Implement actions to eliminate or reduce the wasted activity or process
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the change and take action to improve again.
An effective training program should go beyond the traditional classroom approach. Combining theoretical training with practical on the job activities provides great support to the learning process. The focus must be on implementing the tools learnt in the theory and demonstrating a measurable return on investment.
For example, hands on 5S training (an approach used in Lean Training guided by the philosophy of Continuous Improvement) involves classroom type lessons followed by a 5S blitz. During the blitz, changes are made to the immediate work environment to create the most effective ways to organise and maintain workspaces. The implemented 5S changes typically impact on workplace organisation, improved layout and flow, improved productivity and efficiency.
Hands-On Empowerment of Employees, Driving Toward a Stronger Bottom Line
Effective Continuous Improvement programs also use on-site experts who help workers identify waste in systems and processes and implement corrective actions which result in sustained business improvement. The process cycle is referred to as the PDCA – Plan, Do, Check, Act. It is a process of sustained Continuous Improvement that involves identifying an improvement opportunity and then:
- developing a PLAN of action,
- DO-ing or implementing the plan,
- CHECK-ing the results of the implementation, how the business is tracking and setting up measures and breakpoints,
- further ACT-ions required and a new Plan developed. Return to 1st step
This process of Continuous Improvement, Plan, Do, Check, Act, or ‘kaizen every day’ is about small incremental daily changes which result in major change over a long period of time.
Although Continuous Improvement is probably best known for its many successes in the manufacturing and logistics industries, a quality training program can be valuable for diverse industries.
Investments into this kind of training pay off over the short term in immediate productivity gains and reduced costs. Over the long term, employees become more engaged and consistently deliver improvements as part of their everyday work. Continuous Improvement becomes a way of maintaining competitive advantage and staying ahead of the competition to become market leaders.