Continuous Improvement dates back to Total Quality Management in the 1920s when statistical data was applied to quality control processes. Since that time, it has evolved into Lean Principles and Six Sigma Methodology. No matter what it is called, it is focused on controlling the processes and their output.

It is essential to understand that CI is focused on the customer and their needs and wants. The customer is defined as both the internal and external customer. The internal customers are integral to the successful completion of the processes. To ensure the processes are efficient, internal customers; needs and wants must be formally addressed. The internal customers aka those working on processes, are key to delivering the products or service to the external customers. When internal customers’ needs and wants are being met, there is a much higher likelihood that the external customers will be satisfied.

The above reference to internal customers gives hint to another component of CI which is employee involvement. The best ideas and suggestions for improving any process come from the employees who do the work. They are the Subject Matter Experts and can lend their skills and knowledge to making things better for their internal and external customers.

The CI methodology is most successful when it is supported form the strategic level of any organization. This is in part due to the decisions that will need to be made to change the ways things are done and more importantly to ensure the changes are fully funded for implementation. Buy-in from the top is critical and will determine the success or failure of any CI projects.

The strategic leadership can move any CI project only so far and must rely on the other levels of managers to take hold of the CI work and make sure it is implemented according to the plan. Managers play an essential role directly in implementing the CI plan and freeing up the SMEs to participate in the CI project plan development. These plans can take several months or longer to develop completely. The managers must sure that they are running the business while the business is be changed.

In order for any CI project plan to be successful for the long term, the decisions made about the processes must be made with factual and supported data. The statistics are required in order to make the best and most reliable decisions. The CI team must analyze and validate all of the data collected. Only then can decisions be made that support the changes in the plan.

Some of the benefits of CI include higher morale, engaged culture, reduced defects or errors, satisfied customers, and decreased costs. Any and all of these can have a positive impact on a business.

Employees who are involved in the development of CI project plans are more likely to feel valued and appreciated for the work they contribute. The streamlined processes will reduce defects because there is open communication among the internal customers. Companies with a culture of CI will attract customers that will become very loyal and supportive of their services, products, leadership, and culture. When it is all said and done, companies will decrease costs with formal CI plans.

As a result of my expertise with CI which was developed over my 35 year career, I am uniquely qualified to support entrepreneurs and business owners who want to decrease costs along with the other benefits. I developed Seed and Lead’s Harvesting Profits System based on my CI experience as a business consultant and operations leader. CI is one proven method for decreasing costs that companies can rely on and trust to deliver the results!!!