A habit that everyone needs to adopt is the habit of improving something continuously.
Improve projects, processes and improve as a person. You can improve a project or process and along the way improve yourself, or improve yourself and improve the rest along the way.
That means that when you improve, you improve what surrounds you. And when you improve something external to you, you also improve yourself as a person.
Almost every habit can be improved, and the most important aspect is the process of continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement is the set of actions aimed at obtaining the highest possible quality of the products, services, and processes of a company.
Most large companies have a department dedicated exclusively to continuously improve their manufacturing processes. This translates into a reduction of costs and time, two basic factors in any strategy of continuous improvement that pursues the growth of an organization.
The result of applying processes of continuous improvement will be an improved product or service, more competitive and that responds much better to the demands of the client.
Continuous improvement can also be applied out of the business world where an individual seeks to improve his/her personality.
Continuous improvement processes are everywhere. To give a simple and common example, “feeding yourself is a process” that you do every day:
- Move to the food provider
- Select foods
- Pay for food
- Transport food
- Organize and store food
- Choose today’s meal
- Prepare the food
- Serve the food
These processes are composed of more processes, that is, within the “feeding process” you can also talk about the process of “preparing food.” To improve a process, you must improve the small processes that compose it.
For example, if you make the “process of selecting food” more efficient, you will have made your “feeding process” more efficient.
A process can be something as simple as this one, or something more complex like the “learning process”,the “client acquisition process”,” the “sales process”,the “content creation process” etc.
In reality, everyone is immersed in processes; some people have not even noticed them.
The more you know how a process works, the more improvements you come up with. This only happens when you come across the same process over and over again.
1. Warning of a process
The first step to improve a process is to notice that it exists. Watch out! It is very difficult for you to notice what you do not see, and a process is something invisible as a whole. Processes are series of steps that have a particular purpose.
Have you already identified a process? Give it a name. This way you can refer to it quickly, instead of explaining what it consists of each time.
2. Describing a process in steps
Now that you have a process in mind and to which you have put a name, it is time to describe what it is. This can be done in many ways, from a numbered list to a sketch that describes each of the steps graphically.
The most important thing is to describe the steps that make up the process and in what order they must be executed.
3. Discovering obstacles
You already know the steps that make up your process, now, it how to make it more efficient and effective.
At this point, you must identify obstacles that stand in your process. Go and study every step of your process, you can ask yourself the following questions (choose the one that works best for you):
- What obstacles exist in this step of the process?
- What prevents this step from being more efficient?
- What prevents this process from being more effective?
These questions will give you a series of answers that we will call “obstacles” because they stand in the way of your process. Identifying obstacles is a requirement to avoid them, if you do not identify an obstacle in your way, you will run into it.
4. Proposing solutions
Now that you have a process that you want to improve, to which you have put a name, that you have described in a series of steps and you have identified your obstacles, it is time to propose solutions. If you do not propose solutions, you will have simply been in the description of a problem, but continuous improvement requires finding solutions.
- We will use the master tool again: the questions:
- What solutions exist to avoid this obstacle?
- Which of these solutions can generate new opportunities?
5. Implementing and validating
It is time to implement solutions, to take action. And after implementing the “solutions,” you must validate them: have the obstacles be removed?
If you made a mistake in your “solutions”, go back to point 4 (proposing solutions).
6. Continuous improvement
If you have eliminated obstacles through the implementation of solutions, you have improved your process. Now your process has more value, and along the way, you have increased your value (experience).
The key to continuous improvement is that it is a “process” that never ends, that’s why it’s continuous. Now that you have improved your process it is time to re-identify obstacles. Improvement after improvement, in a certain time you will have a valuable process.
Benefits Of Continuous Improvement In The Company
- Increase the performance of your team
- Increases productivity
- Cost reduction
- Reduction of execution times
- Optimization of processes
- Minimized errors
- Increasingly effective results
- Products and services better directed to the end customer
- Increased motivation of work teams
With only a few benefits, you can convince yourselves of the great power of applying an adequate process of continuous improvement in a company.
Hence the importance of not stopping investing in it, it will be the engine with which to make your brand better in an increasingly saturated and competitive market.
Continuous improvement also involves implementing an attitude and awareness in the company in the team for never stopping moving to be more competitive. This translates into many elements with which your team will feel like a key element in this process.
From the feeling of belonging, continuous motivation, the absence of isolation or certainty that the decision making process will consider their well-being.
The advantages of continuous development are endless and this may be responsible for the success or failure of your business.