If improvement is achieved and not maintained, it leads to an increase in costs without getting sustained benefit from it.
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Companies use Continuous Improvement Process (CIP or CI) to improve process productivity, and the quality of their products and services. To sustain the improvement achieved through methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma, certain other methodologies such as Kaizen are used. Even within Lean Six Sigma, there are practices that ensure that the improvement achieved is sustained. Monitoring and controlling are common methods to sustain improvement.
Flexibility in Implementation
Companies both large and small can achieve improvement by either seeking incremental improvement or a sudden breakthrough improvement. Depending on the size, structure and budget of an organization, they can choose to implement improvement practices slowly over a long period of time or instantly. Such flexibility in implementation eases the path to achieve sustained improvement in processes, and/or products and services.
Costs and Value
Without ensuring that the improvement achieved is sustained, companies cannot get full value of their spending. It is only if improvement is maintained by taking feedback, observing, monitoring, and involving human resources in CIP that companies can get more value for the costs incurred in achieving improvement. Therefore, without continuous improvement, achieving improvement cannot provide long-term gains.
Enhancement in Work Culture
The practice in continuous improvement involves engaging the work force in sustaining improvement. Under Kaizen, for instance, the workforce is made responsible for the generation of ideas, self-improvement, and the results of their decisions. It helps to keep employees fully engaged in improvement where they feel in control and are better motivated to achieve better results. The development of such a work culture directly impacts performance, costs, and productivity.
Sustained Production, Quality and Costs
Businesses prize stability. Having a stable supply chain, productivity levels and costs helps them to analyze, foresee, plan, make decisions, and implement practices. Through continuous improvement process, sustainability of the best practices is guaranteed so that other important functions of the business can be conducted effectively.
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