4 Key ideas to increase the success of your Continuous Improvement implementation

As we are nearing the end of the third quarter of the financial year, it is a good time to review how your team is tracking against your business targets. Are your FY22 goals still achievable? How far along the journey are you? What is working well and what isn’t? What are some of the smaller issues that can be quickly rectified?  

If you are finding issues relating to productivity, morale and wasted resources, here are 4 key tools and philosophies that may serve as useful to deliver quick results, to finish the financial year on or above targets.

1. Gemba Walk

Walk the floor, go and see. Take some time to visit and interact with the front-line. Ask questions and observe how things are being done. These walks should be unscripted and informal in their nature. A Gemba Walk will help provide insights around which improvement areas you need to focus on. 
It’s important to note that the purpose of a Gemba Walk isn’t to point out issues, it’s to ask questions and to gain insights around what’s ‘actually’ happening. This also shows care for the frontline and will further instill confidence into your workforce.

2. 5S – Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardise, Sustain

A place for everything and everything in its place. The idea behind 5S is to create a clean and orderly workplace, that is consistent and self-sustaining. The 5S framework encourages and empowers employees to take responsibility for the condition and upkeep of their workspaces.
The basic idea is to remove unnecessary items, make sure everything is laid out correctly, maintain it on a scheduled basis, standardise the process and create a culture of discipline to sustain it. When correctly implemented, it’s quick, fun, simple and can be adopted across all industry types. If you’re looking for an immediate productivity and morale boost, be sure to add 5S to your to-do list.

3. 5 Why’s

To find out the root cause of a problem, just ask why, five times in a row. Problems that appear to be short-term, may resurface over time. This signifies a deeper cause and may need further analysis. The 5 Why technique is a simple, yet highly effective tool that works even better in a collaborative environment. 
A basic example: The management meeting ran overtime by 20 minutes

  • Why?  It didnt start on time
  • Why?  2 people were late arrivals
  • Why?  They forgot about the meeting
  • Why? There was no promted notification of the upcoming meeting
  • Why?  The reminder setting on the calendar invite was not actioned
  • Solution: Enable automatic calendar invites to have a 15 minute reminder

Remember those issues you identified earlier? Now is a good time to ask why.

4. Kaizen

Implement a culture of Continuous Improvement through small, ongoing positive changes. Bring the team together and discuss how the organisation can improve. Find problems, discuss solutions, encourage honest feedback and be ready to celebrate the wins. Kaizen encourages a sense of value and purpose and it crucial for gaining buy-in for change and boosting morale. It speaks to the hearts and mindset of your team and is fundamental for achieving sustained change.