Your competitive advantage is what sets your organization apart from others. One of the ways to stand apart is to provide a unique value or to be the most cost-competitive and therefore the most productive.
Traditionally when people have thought about increasing productivity, they have focused on cost reductions and downsizing. Even if cost reductions and downsizing were adding to the company’s productivity, there are limits to how much the organization can cut costs and reduce investments in people and capital assets. So, if we tie productivity to these two strategies alone it would seem that at some point, we just couldn’t become any more productive.
Does that sound right? Let’s look further.
We define throughput as the number of products processed and delivered into the hands of the customer within a specific time period. It seems that improving throughput is a much better strategy for long-term productivity planning. The gains here have the potential to be unlimited.
And how can we improve throughput?
Continuous Improvement (CI) is defined as:
An ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once. Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility. (source: Wikipedia)
We improve productivity by improving throughput and we do this through a process of continuous improvement. The strategy for achieving competitiveness today is to embrace Continuous Improvement as a way of doing business.
Continuous Improvement should be embraced across the enterprise, however companies can still implement Continuous Improvement in specific areas.
Companies that have a culture of Continuous Improvement see a strategic advantage through:
- More unified focus on goals across the organization
- Higher employee engagement
- Adaptability to change
- Ability to compete on cost, quality and delivery
- Meeting changing customer and consumer demands in an evolving business climate
The companies that have been successful in implementing deep rooted Continuous Improvement behaviours:
- Improve results in all key areas
- Focus on improving delivery to the customer
- Meet changing customer demand and market demand
- Manage risk
An organization that can do this has a strategic advantage over others for achieving a sustainable operation and growth.
There are several continuous improvement tools that businesses use to improve their operations. You may be familiar with some of them or already be using some in your operation.
Are you considering working with a strategy of continuous improvement? Or planning to take a deeper dive into your processes? We can help!