The planning and execution of a Continuous Improvement program needs to be given appropriate focus and attention. Managing this process is crucial to the success of the implementation – without it, the organization runs the risk that teams will not autonomously continue the CI journey long past the initial deployment. CI is as much about benefitting the employees as it is about benefitting the company through the outcome of improved quality. It is therefore important that the program involves teams at every stage.
Here are a few tips on ensuring a successful implementation.
Provide a North star
Everyone deserves to know how they contribute to strategic objectives. Think carefully about how these will be communicated, and how they cascade to each level. Give people an opportunity to review their own progress and gives leaders ongoing visibility of how the teams are tracking. This way, the company shares a communal sense of success, that is more likely to boost morale and motivate workers to continue their contributions.
Make it easy to review the suggestions, projects and execution progress. The aim is to reduce the admin to almost zero, making it an efficient and effective process. By cutting out the middle man between leaders and their teams, you are ensuring a faster process that will reduce confusion and strengthen your communication channels.
Are all teams contributing? What is the improvement pipeline? Which teams need assistance? And who is responsible for managing this? It is important to ask yourself these questions when setting up and executing your program. Keeping these in mind when you do so could ensure that your program is organized and efficient, which could positively impact your company’s output.
Communicate assessment criteria
Are you promoting the most valuable ideas? Do you have the criteria to evaluate this? Who is doing the evaluation? Critically assessing the evaluation process is just as important as promoting the best ideas, and rejecting the other ideas - which may still be valid but not aligned to the current strategy.
What was each improvement meant to achieve? Was it achieved? Review your process and iterate to improve (meta huh?). How you assess the outcomes of the program could help you target the areas that need improving, or the ideas that worked particularly well, for further reference next time.
Feedback and visibility
Engage the workforce, recognize the improvement origins, celebrate the wins, and create a virtuous improvement culture...that's continuous improvement! Doing so acknowledges the contributions of teams, which will make employees feel more included, and therefore more inclined to continue their valuable work in the future.
In order to successfully execute a Continuous Improvement program, you need to work with your teams, creating a channel of communication down the line. Lift up good ideas and celebrate successes, but also assess where you have failed and use it to springboard into new solutions for the future.