Why bother with continuous improvement when you already have the most efficient and effective organisation you could possibly have?
You’ve coped long enough without it, so why would you all of a sudden want to use this proven system to effect improvement?
a) You have the customer at the heart of your objective and always meet their needs
b) You have a culture of Continuous Improvement thinking throughout the organisation
c) You are already as efficient as you possibly could be
d) Your costs are as low as you can get them
e) Your people are highly skilled in problem solving
f) Each and every employee displays behaviours that constantly look for opportunities for improvement
g) You know that your processes contain no waste and flow seamlessly
h) You have an embedded culture of continually improving
If you can answer yes to all of the above, then you clearly have a culture of continuous improvement. For those that answer no to one or more of these, then there is no doubt the opportunity beckons! On the basis that this is the case then read on…
Unfortunately, many organisations believe that they are very efficient and effective in all that they do, but when analysing this, they soon realise that the gap is much wider than they realise at least when you consider that typically, 60-70% of processes do not add value to the customer and/or the organisation!
Intelligent use of data and processes is central to the achievement of operational excellence. Transferring knowledge to intelligence in this arena builds immensely strong foundations for the future. In fact, those that embed the culture of continuous improvement deliver for today and improve for the future. Central to continuous improvement is the customer.
Mind the Gap!
We all know that the Voice of the Customer (VOC) is getting louder – right? In that case the need to listen is becoming greater and greater. Sound easy? Well, it could be a lot easier than you think – providing that you have the knowledge to bring together the needs of the customer and the organisational goals.
Bridging this gap is an essential ingredient in achieving the vital objective of consistently meeting the requirements of the customer and everyone in the business has a part to play. However, the greatest way in enhancing customer service and in a more efficient way is to ensure alignment both vertically and horizontally across the organisation. This means including suppliers, stakeholders, departments and anyone who has a connection to the service and who influences the quality of service.
Generally, businesses from all sectors know where they want to improve, or at least they think they do! In recent times (and indeed in current times) many organisations, understandably, were forced to quickly make decisions on reducing costs – often very radical decisions – resulting in head-count reductions. The problem with this approach is the compromise on customer service and the negative impact this has on the business goals. Reducing costs at the wrong part of the business can severely damage the credibility of the organisation. Continuous improvement helps overcome this.
Understanding where value-add exists within your business is the primary focus. Or, to put it a better way, knowing where non-value-add exists provides for the identification of where the improvement can be made that does not compromise the customer, but still improves your efficiency. With a culture of continuous improvement this is easier to achieve than you may think.
So, in conclusion, you really don’t need continuous improvement – do you?