Continuous Improvement in the manufacturing industry is an integrated approach where the development of products, processes, and services are monitored with a view to continually making improvements. Taken one step further, Continuous Improvement is focused on linear, incremental improvement within a single process. The process was developed largely by one of the giant figures of the manufacturing industry in the 20th century, W. Edwards Deming.
When it comes to troubleshooting issues on the factory floor, Continuous Improvement solutions are not one-size-fits-all, nor does the approach rely on inspection alone to detect problem areas. Instead, the approach acknowledges the unique circumstances of a given issue and simultaneously includes a number of key standards.
While there may be variations, the key Continuous Improvement standards used more often than not include:
- Employee teamwork and involvement
- Tracking and systematizing processes
- Reducing variation
- Reducing defects
- Reducing cycle times
To develop a culture of continuous improvement within a company across all levels of management is also necessary. Essential features to achieve this include:
- Training in Continuous Improvement methods (or leadership by someone with a background in the field; )
- Access by team members to timely production data to measure performance and;
- Insight into KPIs to determine where improvements need to be made.
For more on how Continuous Improvement in manufacturing works, visit these Worximity resources:
Statistical Process Control (SPC)
Total Quality Management (TQM)
Continuous Improvement in Food Plant
Implementing Continuous Improvement in Food Manufacturing