Lean, Kaizen, and Continuous Improvement

What is management’s role in continuous improvement?  Very often, management folks believe that their role is to tell their employees what to do, solve their problems, and identify better ways to carry out their work.   When you mention continuous improvement to them, they talk about projects lead by “experts.”  But, can this actually be called continuous improvement?  While projects and rapid improvement events work very well for making breakthrough improvements, they are not really “continuous improvement.”   They are step improvements at points in time.   Continuous improvement requires day-to-day recognition of problems and identification of solutions, a continuous quest toward providing defect free products, services, and information to the customer when they are needed.  The people who do the work are allowed to identify problems and even propose and implement solutions.  Management creates the environment for this to happen and provides the support and resources.  Engineers provide expertise in problem solving and faciltiate the development and application of countermeasures to problems.

Following is a short cartoon about continuous improvement; feel free to share it with your colleagues.

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About EMS Consulting Group, Inc.
EMS Consulting Group is a management consulting firm designed to create value for manufacturers, service providers, and product developers. Our clients include organizations from the industrial and consumer products, defense/aerospace, healthcare, biotech, and medical device sectors. Providing lean manufacturing and lean six sigma training. lean healthcare training, and lean manufacturing consulting services; we can help you achieve lower costs, improved productivity and quality, and decreased time-to-market.

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