Building a culture of continuous improvement won’t happen overnight, but the small, daily improvements add up to major sustainable success over time.
Continuous improvement is the core of the TPS philosophy Kaizen, and the concept was critical to the development of Lean manufacturing. Virtually every single Lean tool and technique is grounded in some way to continuous improvement.
- Plan-Do-Check-Act: The PDCA cycle is the powerful Kaizen framework for solving problems, making changes, or executing projects. The four-step approach has teams test solutions and analyze results, cycling back to the planning stage.
- Root Cause Analysis: Problems are not truly solved until the root of the issue has been addressed. The five whys and fishbone diagram are two ways to get to the bottom of the problem while promoting the continuous improvement mindset.
- Gemba: "Going to the Gemba" means getting your boots to the ground and going to the place where things are happening. Regular Gemba walks demonstrate commitment from upper management and should encourage workers to share their improvement ideas.
- Value Stream Mapping: VSMs show a holistic overview of how a production line is currently running, giving users the opportunity to create a future state value stream. Future value stream maps urge organizations to adopt best practices, and the seed of continuous improvement is planted.
It’s also important to adopt a continuous improvement mindset when it comes to workplace safety. Conducting periodic reviews, annual audits, and regularly checking in with workers about safety greatly improves participation while reducing the likelihood of injury or illness.
At Creative Safety Supply, we are dedicated to helping workplaces become more efficient. We have the resources to get you started: in-depth guides, expert-written articles, podcasts with Lean professionals, and so much more.
Continuous Improvement Articles
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PDCA stands for Plan-Do-Check-Act. It is a strategy used for continuous improvement in the workplace (or any other environment). It was popularized by W. Edwards Deming who helped to push forward modern quality improvement and quality control strategies. In many ways, PDCA emulates the well-known scientific method, and has been proven to be effective for… …