In this blog post, we’ll be discussing what continuous improvement is, what a continuous improvement software does, and why you should use one for your manufacturing operations.

What is Continuous Improvement?

In manufacturing, continuous improvement, also known as Kaizen, is a company culture and strategy that involves and encourages all employees to look for ways to improve and enhance a company’s operations. For example, submitting suggestions for how to improve efficiency, evaluating current processes, and identifying opportunities to minimize unproductive work.

What Does Continuous Improvement Look Like?

A company fostering a continuous improvement culture can have day-to-day practices that vary widely. However, there are a few common traits that companies use:

1. Everyone, anywhere in the company, can contribute ideas

To effectively use continuous improvement, companies need a process to get ideas to the right people. Additionally, they’ll need to create a culture that welcomes and rewards suggestions from any employee who can improve a company’s operations. So, in this case, a suggestion system would be useful.

2. Employees are encouraged to identify problems, big or small

Small process inefficiencies can lead to bigger problems down the road. Therefore, by identifying small problems, in addition to big problems, this leads to significant improvements over time. For instance, this could include an unnecessary step in the production process or a technology that can be improved. 

3. Progress is regularly reviewed, as a team

To succeed in using continuous improvement, companies need to take the time to review new processes or changes to old ones. That is to say, by not reviewing progress, companies are only aware that they are participating in continuous changes. But, they are not necessarily an improvement. For example, after a new product is shipped out, a meeting should be held to discuss what worked during the process and what needs to be improved.

4. A company welcomes updates to current processes

Over time, businesses build their own processes and routines. But, they may no longer be effective and efficient. So, until a company reviews its methods, it won’t be able to see that their team is no longer working and functioning in the most effective way. Therefore, a company that uses continuous improvement needs to welcome updates to their current processes. This means that will willingly alter or eliminate steps of a process, or even entire processes, that no longer benefits them.

What is a Continuous Improvement Software?

Manufacturing employees gathering to discuss the progress of implementing a continuous improvement software

A continuous improvement software is a system that enables you to identify and eliminate wasteful activities within your operations. What’s more, a continuous improvement software streamlines your efforts to:

  • — Identify improvement opportunities
  • — Prioritize the identified opportunities
  • — Manage improvement (Kaizen) projects

Why Use a Continuous Improvement Software?

The market’s ability to create more products with less resources greatly relies on technological innovations. That is to say, without an effective, systematic way to use continuous improvement within your organization, you’ll miss out on opportunities to reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve product quality. In short, continuous improvement is essential for any business, but it can be hard to implement and sustain. However, by leveraging a continuous improvement software, this can be much easier as it allows you to: 

1. Have real-time visibility into your improvement efforts

Using a continuous improvement software allows you to get real-time insight into your activity, progress, and engagement with reports that highlight all aspects of your organization. In essence, you’ll know where help is needed, track the progress of your improvements, and know who is working on what. 

2. Increase employee engagement

A continuous improvement software increases employee engagement by:

  • — Empowering your leaders to track progress towards strategic goals and contribute in real-time
  • — Giving your managers access to a platform that they can use to coach and communicate more efficiently and effectively
  • — Making it easier for your frontline workers to identify improvement opportunities, implement those opportunities, and report the progress
3. Improve communication and collaboration

Because a continuous improvement software typically operates as a cloud-based application, this allows you and your entire workforce to communicate and collaborate from anywhere, at any time. 

Continuously Improve with TheLeanSuite

TheLeanSuite is an all-in-one cloud-based lean manufacturing software that offers solutions designed to enhance your daily operational activities. One of them being the Continuous Improvement System. So, whether you have big improvement projects or small improvement projects, use the software to manage the improvement progress from creating a project, to creating a team to handle the project, to reviewing the progress of the project.