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10 Lasting results from successful continuous improvement

Setting up a programme of continuous improvement in your organisation is not easy. It takes a lot of time and effort, but that effort is not necessarily bigger than the effort spent undertaking a traditional transformation project.

A positive impact on your organisation

With that in mind, what are the positive results that a focus on continuous improvement can provide for your business?

1. Higher success rate: Many transformations fail due to lack of process focus and because they look too far ahead. Instead of relying on a risky big bang, continuous improvement will allow you to manage one step at a time and adjust where needed.

2. Team involvement: This is increased as continuous improvement efforts are executed by all employees and not by a special taskforce. This results in a positive culture and more fun at work, where people feel ownership and are proud of the work they have done.

3. Transferable methods: When you succeed in implementing continuous improvement for one process, you can copy the method to other processes and spread this successful approach through the organisation.

4. Business agility: If your team becomes used to exploring their processes and making improvements, they can develop a certain level of agility. Using three process improvement methods; Lean, Six Sigma and Kaizen, your organisation will become increasingly agile and be able to deal with external changes, new laws, unforeseen situations, and special demands from customers with ease.

5. Lower costs: When teams are used to continuous improvement as a practice, they will automatically work smarter tomorrow than they did yesterday. Costs will go down as teams learn they can do more with the same resources, overall increasing efficiency.

6. Less overhead & management: When teams are used to continuous improvement, they are able to manage themselves and need less guidance and management.

7. Focus on long-lasting instead of quick fixes: Based on continuous improvement principles, teams will learn to look for the root cause of any issue, instead of looking for a quick fix. As a result, the chance you will run into a recurring problem will be smaller.

8. Improved compliance and reduced risk: A continuous improvement team will have greater involvement and ownership of the complete process. With this higher level of involvement and total ownership, your compliance and risk management responsibilities will be more effectively taken care of aswell.

9. Quicker introduction of new services/products: Your agile teams will take ownership of any new product or service. They are used to being involved in the bigger picture and so they are increasingly aware of your business operations which can shorten the time-to-market process.

10. Better outsourcing and partnerships: Continuous improvement efforts will bring the associated benefits of Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma, etc. to your suppliers and partners. Meanwhile, your teams will find it more natural to be involved in this extended process, appreciating their role beyond the walls of your own organisation.

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