Set Up for Success: Implementing a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Implementing a Culture of Continuous Improvement

“How can we do better?” It’s an ongoing question for business owners and managers. 
In order to lead your organization towards sustained success in 2017, it’s imperative that you look for new ways to optimize organizational processes and operations. This will help leverage your company’s competitive advantage. 

Start by introducing a culture of continuous improvement. After all, you need the right tools in your tool box to build something the right way. And when it comes to having the best tools for the job, the following three elements should be included:

Engaged Leadership
Engaged leadership is undeniably the most important ingredient when it comes to creating a culture of continuous improvement. For a business to thrive, organizational leadership must be actively engaged in the development of employees through training and influence. They must lead by example, empower others to express ideas and emphasize the importance of making small, incremental improvements on a regular, daily basis. Achievements must be gathered and celebrated and should NEVER go unnoticed, as it is crucial that employees are positively reinforced to sustain the methodologies. 

A Consistent Improvement Methodology
There are various lean and continuous improvement tools that a manufacturer can use to become more efficient and productive. Embracing an open and transparent corporate culture will enhance the willingness of the employees to use the appropriate tools for the various challenges and targeted improvements. Not all tools need to be used at the same time; significant improvements can be made by using some of the tools such as: 
  • 5S
  • A3 
  • Cellular Flow Manufacturing
  • Hoshin Kanri 
  • Kanban Pull System
  • Poka-Yoke
  • Set-up Reduction
  • Six Sigma DMAIC Methodology
  • Total Productive Maintenance
  • Value Stream Mapping
Remember, implementation should be simple, consistent and disciplined, not overwhelming. By simplifying the continuous improvement process for your employees, they will be able to clearly define what needs to be accomplished and focus on moving forward to new tasks, ideas and opportunities. If the process becomes complicated, your employees will become susceptible to errors, confusion and eventually, they will gradually abandon the processes adopted. 

Enabling Technology
Having older, traditional technologies can make it harder to manage and monitor your progress. Special continuous improvement software eliminates this risk and enhances the visibility throughout all functional levels of an organization. The software enables employees to connect with one another, influencing them to collaborate, communicate and increase productivity. The software is structured with a variety of features including: 
  • Structured Improvement Management
  • Active Notifications
  • Engagement and Impact Reports
  • Built-in Recognition
Need further assistance?
The Center is your best resource for a wide range of lean manufacturing consulting services and training courses to help manufacturing organizations resolve issues, optimize business processes to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. To learn more, visit us at 

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Continuous Improvement, Lean Principles, Six Sigma