Continuous Improvement Techniques

Continuous improvement ensures the final product is of the highest quality possible.
Continuous improvement ensures the final product is of the highest quality possible. (Image: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Continuous improvement is the process by which organizations frequently review their procedures, aiming to correct errors or problems. The focus of continuous improvement is to identify problems before they occur, which will save time and money later on in the design and manufacturing process. Several techniques and methods can be used to employ continuous improvement within your business.

The ADDIE Model

One way of implementing continuous improvement is to use the ADDIE Model. ADDIE stands for analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. The analysis part of this model focuses on identifying ways processes can be improved and finding current problems. Design allows the project team to pool ideas on how the objective can be achieved. The development part establishes the procedure by which the design will be implemented. Implementation is putting the procedure into effect. Evaluation is an ongoing process whereby the procedure is regularly assessed to identify problems.

Steering Committees

While everyone within an organization is responsible for continuous improvement, some businesses implement steering committees to help oversee and monitor the process. The committee comprises a number of personnel from different departments to provide a rounded view of improvement within the company. The committee should have senior management's support; without this, the committee lacks authority.

Set Goals

There is no way of establishing whether continuous improvement works unless the business sets goals for each department to achieve. Progress toward these goals should be assessed at intervals against targets set, so the business can see at a glance whether continuous improvement is successful. Assessing the situation helps businesses identify processes that do not contribute to the company's overall success.

Create Incentives

Setting rewards for those who contribute the most to quality management helps to ensure that everyone in the business participates in continuous improvement. This can be in the form of bonuses, prizes or activities. Providing incentives will help motivate employees to be more diligent about implementing continuous improvement in their own processes and procedures.

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