Continual Improvement - What is CI and what is CI not?

J

Jim Howe

#1
WALLACE said:
Jim,
If you're open to analysing and using the ISO 9004 model. You may wish to use the 9004 model as your benchmark for current and future process definitions and opportunities for improvement.
Just my thoughts.
Wallace.
Thanks Wallace, you have been a great help. We are open to all suggestions! In a recent mailer from my local ASQ section a consulting service placed an article that talks about the continual improvement cycle. It states that "Auditors need to be aware of what continual improvement is and what it is not." I dont know if this should be a new thread or not but I pose this question to you and the whole gang at the cove.
What is continual improvement vs what is not? Any takers? The consultant did not offer any further explanation.
 
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RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
Jim Howe said:
Thanks Wallace, you have been a great help. We are open to all suggestions! In a recent mailer from my local ASQ section a consulting service placed an article that talks about the continual improvement cycle. It states that "Auditors need to be aware of what continual improvement is and what it is not." I dont know if this should be a new thread or not but I pose this question to you and the whole gang at the cove.
What is continual improvement vs what is not? Any takers? The consultant did not offer any further explanation.
I like the idea of a new thread for this...CI is not limited to audit results alone.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#3
Jim Howe said:
In a recent mailer from my local ASQ section a consulting service placed an article that talks about the continual improvement cycle. It states that "Auditors need to be aware of what continual improvement is and what it is not." I dont know if this should be a new thread or not but I pose this question to you and the whole gang at the cove.
What is continual improvement vs what is not? Any takers? The consultant did not offer any further explanation.
Couldn't resist starting a new thread for this. It started of in a thread discussing Continual Improvement (CI) from audit results. My opinion is that CI is not just limited to audit results alone, so I thought I'd start a new (yet related) discussion.

To me, CI is raising the level of performance....but first you need to know what your performance capability is.

Again I'll say "There can be no improvement without first establishing routine."

If there is a problem in the conducting of Routine Practices - be it found during an Internal/External Audit, monitoring/measuring of process/product, etc. - CI is not an option. Routine means establishing a consistent level of performance with consistent results. No consistency ensures that there is no foundation upon which to improve.

Once the Routine is consistently under control, then we can focus on Improvement to the Process. The data collected from the Routine Process shows how we are doing....Improvement is the analysis to show us what we can do.


I always think of a line from a Star Trek movie....Chekov and Sulu are in a forest and Chekov states that they're lost. Sulu's response is something like "Alright, I admit it. We're lost. But at least we're making good time."

If the data is showing that we have an out-of-control process, requirements are not being met, and/or results are inconsistent....we can not determine what we are capable of or where we can be, seeing as we do not even know where we are.
 

The Taz!

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Your analysis is no different than improving a manufacturing process through statistical techniques. You first have to wring out all special causes or sources of abnormal variation. Once you have done that, you have a process that should be stable and only showing indications of normal variation.

A process for systemic processes is essentially the same. . . you have to have a stable and standardized process that is in control. One technique that is used is "Standard Work". . . or a standardized methodology that all players use.

Once you have a stable and consistent process, you can implement a change and see the effect of that change. Without that level playing field, any changes made will be hidden in all the "noise" induced by NOT being stable and standardized. This is not a new concept but has been around for a long time. Unlike a manufacturing process though, the effect will show up over time, and needs to be monitored for effectiveness (The CHECK).

JMHO
 
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#5
Jim Howe said:
I dont know if this should be a new thread or not but I pose this question to you and the whole gang at the cove.
What is continual improvement vs what is not? Any takers?
That subject should be worth a thread of its own. :agree1: Here we are: Over to the group...

/Claes

Added later... Oops! Rox beat me to it, so I merged the posts I split from Continuous Improvement from Audit Results into this one instead. Sorry about any confusion caused by this.
 
W

WALLACE

#6
I'm nearly finished reading through a book titled Kaizen by Masaaki Imai
ISNB # 0-07-554332-X.
This publication has again challenged me to take another look at the various formats, tools and techniques of (What we commonly term) CI.

CI is many things to many people. The cultural aspect to CI is very important and, the reason (I believe) why the Japanese form of CI (Kaizen) has been so successfull is that, Japanese culture is so Homogenized.
Roxane quoted "There can be no improvement without first establishing routine." I agree totaly. Look at the the Homogenized manner of the Japanes culture and glean something from that regarding infusing routine (Read standardization).
The Kaizen model is an excellent model for benchmarking. I have to say that, as I read through the book, I became aware that the Ford Production System (FPS) has indeed been benchmarked on the Kaizen model.
Homogenizing or standardizing operating processes and procedures using a CI measure by, continuously assessing the process and procedural capabilities by cross functional work groups is IMO FWIW the way to go.
One discussion forum in the UK states that, After initial assessment of process and procedural capabilities in relation to system have been mapped out, it then becomes neccessary to De-fragment (Unfragment) a system. This is IMO the key to CI. This is where Continuous improvement and the use of basic statistical tools works hand in hand.
Attached is a visual that I worked on through a quality work group. the visual speaks of Fast track improvements and, after looking at the visual again (After reading the book), I realize that, the Kaizen aspect is eveident throughout the visual.
Wallace.
 

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Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
RCBeyette said:
I like the idea of a new thread for this...CI is not limited to audit results alone.
I agree. Audits are a monitoring tool to keep track of how you are doing......like when your pulse is checked.

The real improvement comes from people. Management can and certainly should support, lead, and provide input, but the folks doing the work often have the best ideas of how to get things done. Now, sometimes they can use a little help to get things done and make sure that the idea/method complies with the organization's requirements.

Improvements should also be reviewed in Management Review, and translated into currency-speak.....after all, one has to keep Exec Management interested, and their job is to make money for the organization.

A little recognition for the folks suggesting and imlementing the improvements should also be a part of CI.

Just my thoughts.

Hershal
 
R

Rob Nix

#8
I hope I'm in the right thread now Claes... :confused:

I'll start with this:

Continous Improvement - Perpetual (Webster = "uninterupted extension") improvement made every day, hour, and minute. This term was unrealistic and therefore changed in the standards to continual improvement.

Continual Improvement - Non-ceasing (Webster = "recurring in steady succession") acts to enhance value, excellence, quality, or simply: to make things better than they were before.

Instead of it being an entity of its own in an organization, e.g. having its own procedure or "process" or other such thing, it should be an evident and intrinsic part of the management environment. A chief goal of top management should be that no process in the organization ever stagnate. Everything must get better over time.

Evidence of continual improvement can then be found in MANY areas:
- Strategic Business Planning
- Benchmarking
- Training & Education Initiatives
- Corrective & Preventive Actions
- Audit OFIs
- SPC
- Reliability Growth
- Waste reduction
- ETC.

Anyway, these are my thoughts. I look forward to more on this.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#9
Rob Nix said:
Instead of it being an entity of its own in an organization, e.g. having its own procedure or "process" or other such thing, it should be an evident and intrinsic part of the management environment. A chief goal of top management should be that no process in the organization ever stagnate. Everything must get better over time.
:agree1: That's exactly what we do!

We do not have a procedure or "process", per se, for CI. It is a concept or, the word used here, methodology for ensuring we never accept the status quo as being our best.

We have established tools in place to help us sustain our CI initiatives. Some of the tools focus on the Routine...but this provides us with a solid foundation to build upon. Other tools are dedicated to CI.

Over the past few years, we started to notice that our gains were getting smaller and smaller...i.e., it was becoming more difficult to improve. Introducing some new CI tools into our "toolbox" has allowed to identify areas we never thought of before and the movement upward has increased. :D
 
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