Continuous Improvement Culture and Its’ 3 Building Blocks | Operational Excellence Quick Hits
Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to Operational Excellence Operating Structure Part 7: Continuous Improvement Culture. We hope you enjoy the information presented!
In our house of operational excellence, we spoke earlier about the foundation of customer focus and leadership, and also on the first pillar of establishing a stable and capable delivery system. In this session, we’re going to talk about the second pillar, which is the continuous improvement culture. To me, the culture is how people interact with each other within the organization, how decisions are made, how people treat each other, and how work gets done within the organization.
This pillar consists of three building blocks. The first one is workforce capability and flexibility. The second one is focused improvement initiatives. And the third one is systematic capacity expansion. In order to achieve operational excellence, we need both the foundation piece in place and the stable, capable delivery system before we start focusing on the continuous improvement culture. Remember, that stable and capable delivery system, it’s so important to get stability and capability before we start driving improvements within the organization.
Trying to drive improvements without a stable system is just going to make the system more unstable, as Dr. Deming stated and promoted. Our continuous improvement culture is about getting the workforce working together. And first, we do that by creating that flexibility in the workforce. We’ll talk about … when we get to that building block, all the necessary and sufficient conditions to build that workforce capability and flexibility.
Then focused improvement initiatives. They’re focused on driving the performance metrics, the KPIs we’ve defined, in the performance metrics in the customer focus and leadership foundation piece. If the focus improvement initiative doesn’t improve the performance of the KPIs, then don’t do them. Remember, focus means doing what should be done and not doing what shouldn’t be done. If it’s not moving the needle on the performance KPIs of the organization, then don’t do it. Don’t waste your effort on doing things that aren’t going to move the needle.
Also, at this point, you should start to see increased customer demand because of your ability to deliver high quality on shortly time and reliably. So, being able to grow the company and remain stable and capable through that growth curve is extremely difficult. That’s why this third building blocks in place. The continuous improvement culture is one of the pillars. It’s an important part of operational excellence, and we’ll discuss in the next sessions how to go about changing the culture within the organization.