How do we prove that we are improving the continual improvement process?

H

H?ctor Acevedo

#1
This is my first post in this unvaluable Cove. Besides, English is not my mother language so please forgive my eventual mistakes.
ISO 9001:2000 and good business practice ask us to continually improve our Management System (that is, its main processes).
We can prove that we have improved those processes once we have accomplished the figures stated for the goals' measurement which had been previously defined.
So far, one of the most important processes is the Continual Improvement Process (which is composed of: data analysis, non-comformance treatment, preventive and corrective actions, internal audits, etc.). The question is: How can we prove that we are improving in improving processes? Should we split this process into its sub-processes and prove that each or some of them have improved, or is there another way of doing it?
Thanks in advance.
 
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E Wall

Just Me!
Super Moderator
#2
Realignment of Goals

Once a goal is achieved or as business needs change - you should realign (restate) your goals to continually improve the organizations QMS. By doing so you are naturally progressing.
 
A

anil2187

#3
Hello,
I was awy for some time.
Improvement of Continual Improvement Process:

There are atleast three ways we can prove that we are improving our improvemnt process:

* Set a higher target for the process measure (Example : The cycle time in completing my corrective action with respect to customer feedback by 20%)
* Review the Approaches: Example apply PDCA on the Improvement Process Cycle: It may include - to check - have we included all avenues to trigger an improvement process, What is the banefit wrt to customer (Other stake Holder) based on these improvement, What did the organization learn out of this process over a period of time. Let us assume we have not included an input to improvement process (say customer inspection feedback)- as an improvement in my approach I can include this and so on. I can refine the process with respect to response time, cost saving etc.

* I can also improve the improvement process by enhancing the deployment area. Say earlier I have used this approach only in limited area the scope of this process can be enlarged.

So ultimately it is appling PDCA in PLanning, Doing, Controlling and Acting!

Anilkumar.s
 
H

H?ctor Acevedo

#4
Thanks for the replies!
Maybe I see things too complicated.
Let's see if I can put it in a simpler way: if I improve a process -any process- (which can be proven the way Jim explained, agreed) I know I have succeeded in the improvement (because I have accomplished the quantitative targets). But, if what I want to evaluate is the improvement process itself (that is, the process of improving any other process) and what I want to know is if I am better at improving today compared to one year ago, what should I do?
If this looks simple rethoric, please let me know.
 
G

gnesslar

#5
Continual Improvement itself as an objective

I don't think that it is simple rhetoric. Reading your post has me wondering the same thing. In my case, I have Continual Improvement identified as a top-level objective. How do I evaluate our performance on Continual Improvement at this level. I do not have any overall measurements in place and would love to hear how others are handling this?
 
M

M Greenaway

#6
I think improving the improvement process is taking the intent of the standard a little too far.

In fact I would not consider 'continual improvement' a process at all, more of an output (or objective if you like) of the QMS.

The processes that hopefully lead to improvement are the internal audit, satisfaction monitoring, process monitoring, corrective/preventive actions, analysis and management review (and no doubt a few others that dont spring immediately to mind).
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#7
My take on "improving the improvement process" is showing that you are catching errors sooner than before; eventually, avoiding making errors is improving the improvement process further.

Start with analysis that finds true causes the first time. After that, you can use your analytic techniques to find opportunities before defects occur.

It does not have to be big, complicated endeavors or complicated/confidential evidence of performing the improvement process. Even histograms and fishbone diagrams to help isolate causes, and then control charts or follow up histograms can be used to show improvement and how you got there.

When you can show gradual reduction of defects, and then earlier catches in a given example process, and still later evidence of avoiding what used to go wrong, you are showing continuous improvement.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#8
Jennifer Kirley said:
My take on "improving the improvement process" is showing that you are catching errors sooner than before; eventually, avoiding making errors is improving the improvement process further.
Yes, but how do you improve the improving the improvement process? When does this stop? I think it's probably enough to say that "continual/continuous/perpetual/never-ending" improvement is a concept or ideal, not a process. It's either an inextricable component of the culture or it's not. If a company has to say "We strive for continuous improvement" it's good bet that they don't.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#9
JSW05 said:
Yes, but how do you improve the improving the improvement process? When does this stop? I think it's probably enough to say that "continual/continuous/perpetual/never-ending" improvement is a concept or ideal, not a process. It's either an inextricable component of the culture or it's not. If a company has to say "We strive for continuous improvement" it's good bet that they don't.
You said it better than I did. When results of directly linkable activities and assessments to targets show gradual, noticeable gain, isn't one, in fact and essence, improving the process of improvment?

We mustn't overthink things when we can avoid it.

Here's an example:

A company decides they have too many back injuries, so they take a count over the last 6 months as a baseline. They give everyone safe lifting training. Six months later they reassess, and see there has been no appreciable improvement. They are disappointed, but resolve to try again because the back injuries are a big problem.

This time, they look deeper into the circumstances listed in the injury reports. They note things in common, make a histogram and decide the most-oft occurrences are due to too much clutter that inhibits safe lifting. The company makes some corrections, measures six months later and notes that this time, back injury rates have gone down--most of the reductions were due to at least partially resolving the clutter problem. (We can't always fix everything)

Now that they know to look for common cause, the company uses that method to dig a little deeper into the cause of needle sticks--another problem they want to reduce. They dig a little deeper in the early stages and avoid the statter shot method of problem solving.

In this series of events, one can show the process [of process improvement] is being improved. The proof is in the results and an evidence trail showing how they were achieved: meeting minutes, established objectives, actions, measurements, follow up meetings. Being able to communicate this to an auditor simply requires understanding the concept, being able to collect or find such evidence, and explaining how the events show improvement. I think an organization that is truly into improvement, even taking small bites at a time, will have little trouble with this element.
 
M

M Greenaway

#10
Jennifer

You are talking about corrective and preventive action processes - these are processes which you can rightly improve on, the measure of which is improvement, or more improvement, or indeed no improvement.

The point is that continuous improvement is not a process, it is the output of a process.
 
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