Records of continual improvement - How do you keep auditors happy on this topic?

L

Laurens

#1
In particular in recent months, continual improvement has really kicked off in our company (~50 employees); targets are now being met, Work In Progress is coming down dramatically, and all this is evident from walking about. (I'm sure you'll think I'm biased! :)

However, one thing we are not strong at is keeping records of the various improvements that are going on. We improve and to keep records afterwards seems like extra nonvalue added work. What do you think? How do you keep auditors happy on this topic?

BTW, this site is an excellent resource!
 
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RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
First off, welcome to the Cove, Laurens! :bigwave:

Laurens said:
In particular in recent months, continual improvement has really kicked off in our company (~50 employees); targets are now being met, Work In Progress is coming down dramatically, and all this is evident from walking about. (I'm sure you'll think I'm biased!
Not at all! It's amazing how visible improvements can be!...although, keep in mind that there are probably just as many not-so-visible improvements out there for you to discover! :D

Laurens said:
However, one thing we are not strong at is keeping records of the various improvements that are going on. We improve and to keep records afterwards seems like extra nonvalue added work. What do you think? How do you keep auditors happy on this topic?
Why does your organization feel like this is a non-value adding activity? Why do you keep other records?

One basic reason to keep records of your actions on improvement projects is to help you develop and improve your planning abilities. Did you do what your originally set out to do? Were you on time on all your actions? Did the same person/organization/step repeatedly hold up the project? This kind of information will help you plan on other projects - you'll know to budget more time in some cases.

We also keep ours to keep track of what works and what doesn't. If we aim to improve something like energy conservation and have an action plan, we may discover part way through the year that one of the tasks just won't work and we'll cancel it. Now, a few years go by and we want to still focus on energy conservation. Having the record will help us to avoid wasting time and resources on an activity that we know won't work - unless, of course, circumstances have changed and we now feel it will be possible.

My organization, however, has an extensive Improvement Project planning programme. It's almost like our own project management software. The records of it help us to verify the status, plan countermeasures when actions/goals are not attained, assign responsibilities and accountability.

All of these records show that we are continually trying to improve. We used to be excellent at stating how we were doing and where we wanted to be, but weak on the planning side. No bit of :magic: , however, will help us get to where we want to be. We need to Plan...Do...Check...Act. :D And these records are our way of showing our Shareholders, our Community, our Suppliers, our Customers, and, perhaps most important of all, ourselves that we are improving, that we are not content to remain "as is", that we will not allow our competition to catch and surpass us...that we will be world-class.

These records add a value that is, perhaps, difficult to calculate....improved morale and confidence in us! :D
 
C

C Emmons

#3
I dont know if this is what you are after, but I have an ongoing struggle in this area myself. I very recently set up excel spreadsheets with mutiple pages (insert additional as needed). If I am working to improve in a certain area I Rename the sheet and keep progress/tracking notes. For instance. We have recently been redesigning our Internal Audit Program. I open my excel file named Continual Improvement 2004. Select a sheet, rename from sheet 1 to Internal Audits. On tihs page I indicate the goals, the date we started the project (process improvement) every time we complete a step or enhancement I list it and record the date, implementation date to the field, I record it, memo to the field, I record it etc. This method is pretty recent for me but so far it seems to be working. I also serves as a memory jogger, Even if I am not ready to start on a project or process I will still set up the sheet so I know it is an area I want to look into or bring up at a meeting.
 
G

Greg B

#4
Hi Laurens,
Welcome to the cove. We keep records of all of our Suggestions, from the shop floor (we call them Continuous Improvement Suggestions). Minutes from the following:
  • Management Review Meetings,
  • Weekly Management Meetings,
  • Production Meetings,
  • Quarterly Financial Reviews etc
Any of these types of records also should be considered CI records,
  • Corrective or Preventative Actions,
  • Document Reviews,
  • Internal Audits,
  • External Audits etc
These all prove that your company is continually improving by identifying issues and finding solutions you are improving.

Greg B
 
V

vanputten

#5
How do you know that your company is improving? How do you know that work in progress is going down? Seems to me that you are already comparing records of current performance Vs. previous performance. I would guess you already have records of improvment otherwise you would have no idea that your organization is improving.

Sincerley, Dirk
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#6
vanputten said:
How do you know that your company is improving? How do you know that work in progress is going down? Seems to me that you are already comparing records of current performance Vs. previous performance. I would guess you already have records of improvment otherwise you would have no idea that your organization is improving.
I read Laurens's question to be more along the lines of why the keep the records, not the records don't exist. But as Greg so eloquently pointed out, there are other means of demonstrating CI without calling something a CI record. :D

You're right, Dirk, that Laurens's organization appears to know that they have improved...so you asked a great question. HOW? How do they know this?
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
Am I missing something? We don't have anything we call "continual improvement records". We have KPI's - positive trends = improvement. No auditor has ever asked my for "continual improvement records". If one did, the KPI's are what I would show him - no?
 
C

C Emmons

#8
I think it depends on the auditor. Our registrar wants continual improvement records, progress notes, tracking etc.
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
C Emmons said:
I think it depends on the auditor. Our registrar wants continual improvement records, progress notes, tracking etc.
For records and progress notes - I would show them management review records that detail our review of our KPI's and any action items we implement as a result of negative trends; for tracking - well, that's the KPI.

These are all reviewed at every audit as our auditor audits Management Review at every surveillance.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#10
Cari Spears said:
For records and progress notes - I would show them management review records that detail our review of our KPI's and any action items we implement as a result of negative trends; for tracking - well, that's the KPI.

These are all reviewed at every audit as our auditor audits Management Review at every surveillance.
Hmmm...I certainly wish Laurens would rejoin us and provide us with more insight into her question. I read her first post as a request about CI records...be they called CI records or something else.

Laurens said:
one thing we are not strong at is keeping records of the various improvements that are going on. We improve and to keep records afterwards seems like extra nonvalue added work. What do you think?
I did not read "records of various improvements" to mean Key Indicators or Review Minutes or any other record required by ISO 9001:2000. I read it to mean a record dealing strictly with CI projects.

All the references to minutes and KPIs are true as means of demonstrating CI...the results that is was attained and the allocation of resources and, in some cases, the actions necessary to be taken.

My organization has minutes, KPI's, audit findings, CARs, PARs, OFIs, Abnormalities and so on (some of which are actual requirements for records)....but we also have our Annual Action Plans. These are our CI Projects. It's not a requirement of the Standard. But it does help us to easily see where we stand on all CI projects and why deadlines and goals are not being reached (if that is the case).
 
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