Continuous improvement is based on a Japanese Concept called Kaizen, is the philosophy of continually seeking ways to improve operations. It invloves identifying benchmarks of excellent practices and instilling a sense of employee ownership of the process. The focus can be on:
- Reducing the length of time required to process requests for loans in bank
- The amount of scrap generated at a milling machine or the number of employee injuries.
- Continuous improvement can also focus on problems with customers or suppliers, such as customers who request frequent changes in shipping quantities and suppliers that to maintain high quality.
The bases of the continuous improvement philosophy are the beliefs that virtually any aspect of an operation can be improved and that the people most closely associated with an operation are in the best position to identify the changes that should be made. Consequently, employee involvement plays a big role in continuous improvement programs.
Getting Started with Continuous Improvement
Instilling a philosophy of continuous improvement in an organization may be a lengthy process, and several steps are essential to its eventual success.
- Train employees in the methods of statistical process control (SPC) and other tools for improvement quality.
- Make SPC methods a normal aspect of daily operations.
- Build work teams and employee involvement.
- Utilize problem-solving techniques within work teams.
- Develop a sense of operator ownership of the process.
Here employee involvement is central to the philosophy of continuous improvement. However, the last two steps are crucial if the philosophy is to be the part of everyday operations.A sense of operator ownership emerges when employees feel as if they own the processes and methods they use and take pride in the quality of product or service they produce. It comes from participation on work teams and in problem-solving activities, which instill in employees a feeling that they have some control over their workplace.
Source: Operations Management, Strategy and Analysis, Fourth Edition, Karajewski/Ritzman, Page151-152
There are number of websites on internet that explain the concept of 5S Housekeeing. I have collected and uploaded selected images here so that concept could be understood easily. Here they are: (more…)
Productivity of white-collar worker is no less important than that of direct labor or manufacturing employees. Indeed, in terms of numbers and expense, non-production employees outnumber production employees by a wide margin. Yet the problem of measurement of output is more elusive. Measuring the units assembled per man-hour is not too difficult, but how many reports should an accountant prepare, not to mention the most difficult of all measure–managerial productivity. (more…)
Here I have uploaded few images of Hiroshima that testify the greatness of Japanese nation as how they recovered from the ashes of World War II. Japan is the only nation on this planet that suffered Nuclear Holocaust. The very same nation i.e. United States of America, that defeated Japan was trembling due to the invasion of Japanese products in her markets in the middle of 1980s. The subject or the discipline of Total Quality Management is the result of this tug-of-war between these two great nations. Let’s see the following images that would show us how Japanese nation recovered from the shock of ugly nuclear weapons: (more…)
I have found few clips of 5S that are mostly education or promotional in nature. However, by watching these clips one can have some idea about how 5S activities are done in industrial setting. If anyone finds a clip showing 5S in office environment, please do forward its link to me so that I could add the same on this post. (more…)
TQM pioneered by Edward Deming, is a broad-based systematic approach for achieving high levels of quality. Many leading companies such as Motorola, Cadillac, and Xerox, whose strategies require them to survive against the pressures of world-class competition, have implemented TQM. (more…)
The company that invented photocopier in 1959 and maintained a virtual monopoly for many years thereafter, like “Coke” or “Kleenex,” “Xerox” became a generic name for all photocopiers. By 1981, however, the company’s market shrank to 35% as IBM, Kodak developed high-end machines and Canon, Richo, and Savin dominated the low-end segment of the market. The Xerox vice president of copier manufacturing remarked, ” we were horrified to find that Japanese were selling their machines at what it cost us to make ours…we had been benchmarking against ourselves. We weren’t looking outside.” (more…)
A key to improving quality through TQM is linking the design of products or services to the processes that produce them. Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a means of translating customer requirements into appropriate technical requirements for each stage of product or service development and production. Bridgestone Tire and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries originated QFD in late 1960s adn early 1970s when they used quality charts that take customer requirements into account in the product design process. (more…)
Continuous improvement, based on Japanese concept called KAIZEN, is the philosophy of continually seeking ways to improve operations. It involves identifying benchmarks of excellent practice and instilling a sense of employee ownership of the process. (more…)