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.

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Continuous Improvement Articles

Control Charts: A Basic Component of Six Sigma

Control Charts: A Basic Component of Six Sigma

Statistical process control charts are a helpful visualization tool for recognizing deviation within a process. These charts help operators know when to take action.

John Krafcik and the Birth of the Term Lean

John Krafcik and the Birth of the Term Lean

Learn all about where the term Lean came from in this article! You’ll read about John Krafcik and his initial studies on Lean production methods.

William Edwards Deming: The Father of Quality Management

William Edwards Deming: The Father of Quality Management

William Edwards Deming was incredibly influential in the world of quality management, and by extension, the development of Lean manufacturing. Learn about him here.

Autonomous Maintenance: The Key to a Healthy TPM Program

Autonomous Maintenance: The Key to a Healthy TPM Program

Autonomous maintenance is an important part of Total Productive Maintenance strategies. This is done by handing over simple maintenance tasks to machine operators.

A Look at Training Within Industry (TWI)

A Look at Training Within Industry (TWI)

Training within Industry, or TWI, uses a series of training modules to develop leaders within a business that then train new employees quickly and effectively.

Understanding the Principles of Lean Construction

Understanding the Principles of Lean Construction

When Lean techniques are incorporated into traditional methods of construction, a project is completed more efficiently. These are the main principles behind Lean Construction.

Understanding the SIPOC Diagram in Six Sigma

Understanding the SIPOC Diagram in Six Sigma

Creating a SIPOC diagram to determine the Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers of an operation can help businesses achieve improvement and ensure Six Sigma success.

Understanding Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

Understanding Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

DFSS is an improvement technique that uses the DMADV approach to ensure that a product or service meets customer expectations as it is originally introduced to the market.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

A smooth and efficient supply chain ensures quality products, customer satisfaction, and a positive reputation. These are the essential components to effective supply chain management.

6S: Safety

6S: Safety

Safety is the additional sixth step to the traditional 5S method. A company that implements 6S focuses on improving organization and efficiency, with an emphasis on safety throughout each step.

Quality Control

Quality Control

Quality Control helps ensure products are meeting customer needs and reduce the risk of product defects. Let this article help get you started.

Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing

Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing

Going “Lean” is all about continuous improvement. Kaizen gives Lean manufacturers the tools and strategies they need to identify wastes in their facility and effectively eliminate them.

A Brief History of Kaizen: The Key Players

A Brief History of Kaizen: The Key Players

Kaizen has been shaped over the years by an automobile manufacturer, American statisticians, influential businessmen, and more. We explore who had a hand in creating Kaizen and how it has developed into the philosophy we know today.

An In-Depth History of the Kaizen PDCA Cycle

An In-Depth History of the Kaizen PDCA Cycle

Lean organizations focus on improving all parts of a process from start to finish in order to increase the quality of the results. Through the use of specific cycles (like PDCA), organizations can improve the processes and end products.

Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015)

Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015)

ISO 9001: 2015 is a standard that outlines and defines requirements for a quality management systems. This QMS certification allows companies to demonstrate to clients that they take quality and efficiency seriously.

DMAIC Cycle

DMAIC Cycle

The DMAIC cycle is the foundational method of Six Sigma, the Lean manufacturing method that radically reduces defects in production and infinitely improves efficiency. Learn how to implement Six Sigma into your facility with DMAIC.

Statistical Process Control (SPC) in Manufacturing

Statistical Process Control (SPC) in Manufacturing

Statistical Process Control also known as SPC, is a term used in quality control. Find out how you can use this continuous improvement method.

5 Lean Principles for Process Improvement

5 Lean Principles for Process Improvement

Learning the basics about the lean process is essential when implementing continuous improvement changes. We have broken down the lean process so its easy to understand.

Continuous Improvement (A Kaizen Model)

Continuous Improvement (A Kaizen Model)

Facilities that focus on continuous improvement become more competitive over time and can maintain their advantages in their industry, but only if the improvement efforts are done correctly.

Getting Started with Kaizen

Getting Started with Kaizen

Proper training is key for getting started with Kaizen and on the road to continuous improvement.


Continuous Improvement Questions and Answers

Why was 6S Developed?

When asking about why 6S was developed, you must look at two distinct things. First, looking at why the precursor to 6S was developed. 5S has been around for quite a long time and was developed to help companies find different types of waste in the workplace and eliminate it. This helps the company to… 

Is 6S the Same as Six Sigma?

The concepts of 6S and Six Sigma are often used together since they are both related to improving the way that a business operates. While the names seem similar, and they are often discussed together, they are actually two separate and distinct systems that can be used by a company. Companies can implement these systems… 

What is a 6S Audit?

If you own or manage a company, you will want to do everything you can to eliminate waste and improve the efficiency of the organization. For many companies, the best way to do this is to start implementing 6S strategies. 6S is a very popular concept that takes six separate ideas, each of which start… 

What are the Tools of 6S?

6S is one of the most popular and most effective workplace improvement strategies used today. By using the six strategies listed in this methodology, you will be able to better find and eliminate waste throughout your facility. Of course, just knowing about different steps you can take to get rid of waste is not going… 

What are the Benefits of 6S in Production?

If you are looking at the 6S system for your facility, you will undoubtedly want to know about the benefits that it can provide. Implementing workplace improvement policies like 6S will take some work, so you want to ensure that the benefits will outweigh the costs when it comes to production improvements. 6S (and 5S) have… 

What are the 6S principles?

If you are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your company, you have likely run across the concept of 6S. This is an excellent tool that is used by millions of companies around the world to try to find and eliminate waste in the workplace, which helps them to operate more efficiently. The first… 

Is 6S safer than 5S?

Many companies today are debating whether they should implement the traditional 5S tools or move to the newer 6S option. On the surface, the biggest difference is that the 6th S in 6S stands for safety. This should mean that safety gets more focus with 6S than 5S, but many people wonder whether facilities that… 

Is 6S still considered Lean?

Running a Lean manufacturing facility is a great way to make sure that your company is operating as efficiently as possible. The concept of Lean businesses focuses on finding and eliminating all different types of waste and running as efficiently as possible. There are many different strategies that can be followed to attempt to achieve this… 

How is 6S different from 5S?

If you are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your company, you have likely heard or read about concepts like 5S and 6S. Learning about each of these options, and knowing how 5S is different from 6S, will help you to decide which of the options is going to be best for you… 

What Does 6S Stand For?

One of the most popular Lean tools used today is known as 5S, which can help to improve processes in just about every working environment. The 5 S’s in this tool stand for sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. Many people are pushing for the adoption of a 6th S, which would stand… 

What does PDCA stand for?

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… 

 
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Continuous Improvement Podcasts

Continuous improvement can make a process better, improve safety and save dollars. But it's a waste of time if the… 

Lean IT expert Steve Bell helps solve the long-standing battle between a company’s goal of Continuous Improvement and the perceived… 

Continuous improvement is best started with management on board. Expert in the field, Jeff Hajek, describes the structure a company… 

Lean success means increasing safety and efficiency. Yes, improve operations and save money simultaneously. Lean implementer Matt Wrye explains how. Matt… 

The old suggestion box used to be a fair way for employees to offer ideas at their organization. However, over… 

Kaizen events that rock—time to increase efficiency in your organization! Lean/Six Sigma expert Mark Hamel tells of how to implement… 

Why do workers resist lean culture? Lean methodology expert Karen Wilhelm explains why employees are often suspicious of lean, and… 

Safety goals in the workplace can be implemented or refined at year’s end to ensure a safe start to the… 

Owners and managers—the bosses—don’t often like change. Try “continuous improvement” to improve safety and efficiency. Start with no budget, in… 

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