Continuous improvement is very important for because driving efficiencies is critical in today’s competitive market- but mainly because of a sudden changes in business strategy. To develop continuous improvement in organization, top managements continually examine all processes to find and eliminate problems. Typically, it is possible by making small changes rather than implementing a large ‘scale alteration. By focusing on making things better without discovering mistakes , team ‘members take actions to reduce the defects, eliminate all possible activities which provide no value to the system and improve customer satisfaction. Continuous improvements is very important for organization in achieving flexibility, responsiveness and the ability adapt quickly to change within the environment (Kaye & Anderson, 1999; Lillrank et.al., 2001). A continuous improvement approach to business activities will enables an organisation to improve its competitive position either by increasing its revenue through improved relationship with customer or by achieving cost efficiencies through process improvements. It is suggested that the achieving of such goal is dependent upon the organization having a learning culture to promote improved performance. Decision to adopt continuous improvement in itself implies a learning approach, as the organizational will be focused on improving its current business operations. Learning develops insight, knowledge and association between past actions, the effectiveness of those actions, and future actions (Fios& Lyles, 1985). Organizational learnings about the acquisition of new knowledge and highlight the importance of acquiring and disseminating information to assist organizational actions (Miller, 1996).
Learning can be seen to occur when organizational perform in changed and betterways, with the goal of better ways, with goal of better outcomes for the organizational. Learning is the highest form of adaptation thereby raising the probability of survival. It is argued that learning organization will have gaol to thrive by systematically using its learning to progress beyond more adoption. (Dodgson, 1993). Learning will involve the process of building procedural done, knowledge, cognitive strategic and attitudes. Learning can concentrate methods and tools to improve what is already being done, known as single loop learning, or on testing the assumptions underlying what is being done, known double ‘loop learning (Argyris&Schon, 1987). Organisation may have preference for one mode over other, but a sound learning system require both approaches. (Appelbaum&Reichart, 1998); and adaptive learning (Ansolf,1991).
Continuous organizational improvements have an extended process, gradually building up skills and capabilities within the organization to find and solve problems. There are numbers of different technique which can enable the process, and for a full account of them you should look at the further information sources. Tools are listing below,
Problem ‘ solving Cycle:
At its simplest we can see continuous improvement as involb0ng a problem-finding and problem-solving like this.
Figure.1. Problem solving cycle
Identify: In the first stage management identify the problem to solve. Identification of problem may be an emergency or it may be a minor difficulty which has been nagging away for same time. Finding and solving of problem might be difficult; it is depending on intensity and emergency. In the initial stage, whatever the initial stimulus finding a problem then trigger the next stage which is to define more clearly. The main problem is triggering the next stage which is to define it more clearly. Defining it also puts some boundaries around the problem to be solved. Mostly, it is necessity to break a big problem down into smaller sub-problems which can be tackled. Once, defined the problem, the next stage is to explore the ways of solving it. There may be a single correct answer, as in arithmetic. But it is much more like to be an open ‘ended problem- and thus who thought be involved in its solution. The solution of problem, there may be number of solutions for the given problem. The difficult part is to explore more and more ‘ perhaps through the use of brainstorming or other group tools ‘ to generate as many solution as possible. In the next stage, select the most appropriate solution to try out- essentially the reverse of the previous stage since this involving trying to close down and focus from different solution. The most appropriate solution then put into practice- and the result, successful or otherwise, reviewed. On the basis of this evaluation, the problem may be solved, or it may need another trip around the loop. It may even be the case that solving one problem brings another light. In terms of learning, this is necessary a model for experimenting and vaulting. We gain knowledge at various steps in the process-for example about what work and what doesn’t work in implementing it. The point is that, if we capture this learning it puts us in much better position to meet the next problem.
Building framework of continuous improvement:
Key Principles of Continuous Organizational Improvement:
‘ Continuous understanding of customer need
‘ Optimizing Organizational performance
‘ Focusing on mean to an end
‘ Continuous learning on mistake
‘ Continuous improving systems and process
‘ Fixing root cause of problem
‘ Every level is responsible for continuous improvement.
Continuous understating of customer needs:
1. Create a belief among the people that the purpose of organization is to provide customer value
2. Leader need to be made to understand that their role is continuously improve system and processes to meet customer need.
3. Have plan regularly engaging with customer and listening to their needs.
4. Create culture of listening to the customer needs and translating in it into actions.
1. Research shows that a focus on customer will inspire changes more readily.
2. Communicate widely that successful customer focus will indirectly serve the needs of all stakeholders.
3. Handling customer feedback should be top priority in the organization.
4. Manager shall utilize at least one third of his time to improve system and processes that improve customer focus.
Optimizing Organizational performance:
1. Organizational performance indicators shall be linked to providing customer value.
2. Organizational performance takes precedence against functional performance.
3. Use cross functional approach to achieve organizational performance.
4. Functional performance indicators shall be linked to organizational performance indicators of customer focus.
5. Create a belief that all function are equally important to accomplish organizational performance.
Focus on mean to end:
1. Managers need to understand that achieving superior customer focus is the end result of various works done in the organization.
2. They need to focus and take action on causes that leads to the result.
3. Top Management need to work on mean that leads the improve customer satisfaction.
4. Cross functional teams comes together to work on the means.
Continuous Learning on Mistakes:
1. Team- members should be allowed and feel secured to experiment and carry out test on processes that support customer focus.
2. Team ‘members should be encouraged to make suggestions to improve processes that are liked to customer focus.
3. Mistakes are not an occasion for appropriating blame.
4. All members of team need to feel secure to avoid mistakes.
Continuously Improving System and Process:
1. Variation within acceptable tolerance is not acceptable.
2. The role of continuous improvement is to improve and reduce variation thus achieving six sigma statuses.
3. Organization should not stop improving once product/services fall within acceptable level.
4. Hence, cause of variation is continually identified and rectified, in order to get the process to reduce the variation to the six sigma level.
5. In continuous improvement, the bar continues to be raised.
6. Eliminating waste will be a critical success factor in improving systems and processes.
Fixing Root Cause of problems:
Entry Level is responsible for continuous improvements:
1. Leaders shall take responsibility to continuous improvement and not delegated to the quality assurance department.
2. Leaders lead continuous improvement project and activities
3. Continuous improvements activity are discussed and deliberated at management committee meeting.
4. Teams are enabled to do conscious improvement activities by providing a system that support it.
5. Leader who hinders or do not provide space for continuous improvement activities shall be appropriately dealt with.
6. Different continues improvement activities can be initiated to deal with differing issues.
In this highly competitive global market, all top organization must be open to change if they are maintained their business. Being optimistic and welcome to new ideas are the crucial factors of continuous improvements.
Continuous means ongoing. Business process never stops and sustained success is like in organization which regularly reviews their business system and processes in the drive for improvements.
Essential factors for continuous improvements
‘ Total commitment from for continuous improvements process.
‘ Opportunities for all employee to contributes to the continuous improvements process
‘ Ensuring employee know their role in achieving the business strategy.
‘ Managing the Performance and contribution of employee.
‘ Good communication throughout the organization.
‘ Developments and training of staff and linking training activities to operations and business strategy.
‘ Signing up recognised quality management system and standard.
‘ Measuring and evaluating progress against key performance indicator and benchmark.
By continually review these areas, change can be managed effective and continuous improvements becomes a natural part of the business process. It creates steady growth and developed by keeping the business focussed on its aims, priorities and performance. The continuous improvements process has been shown to bring significant advantages to all kind of business in all sectors.
‘ Better business performance resulting in increased profit.
‘ Enhanced customer care
‘ Improve staff value
‘ Better job facilities and retention figure
‘ Better communication within supplier
‘ Shorten lead-in time to market
‘ Better use of resources
‘ More efficient work system
Organizational culture and self assessment:
Organizational culture is one of the most important factors related to encouragement of continuous improvement in organization. The application of changes causes changing the organizational culture, which change the gradual change in value of employee. Organizational culture is ways of system thinking and ways of thinking which differentiate one organization from other. Continuous improvement programme and conducting self- assessment are connecting system. Good ideas are the main heart of progress. They improve the staff’s lives by making better ways to do things. An idea begin when person face the problem. Everyday ‘ regular staff ‘ people who do the regular office work, make the product serve the customers- see a different kinds of problems and opportunities and come up with new ideas about how to handle them. Traditional management practice has been to take thinking out of the jobs of front line employee. Manager’s job is to encourage improvements, assure recourses are available for training and implementation, and becomes personally involved with more substantial improvements. Top management play important role in designing and changing business culture, encouraging people, and using self ‘ assessment for promoting continuous improvements and therefore implementing business excellence.
The culture of organization is defined by five elements:
Values of organization describe the way in which person assess certain qualities, activities or behaviours as good or bad and are based on how an individual ,or team of individual , perceive the organization they work for.
Beliefs reflects the way team work and the probable consequences of any actions they take. For example, in some organizations people sick to list of rules that is how they believe you get ahead, or alternatively people resist taking risk because they think that avoiding risk is the way to manage process improvements. What person believes directly affects how they behave.
Myth is the stories or legend that gives hint or signal about the behaviours that are based on mix truth and fiction and becomes embellished over time.
These are the regular beneficial event that includes such things as get together, social parties and celebrations that are basic way of perpetuating culture values.
Norms are nothing but rules that define the day to day work activities, such as dress code, work habit, life balance, communication style and gossip. Norms are rarely, if ever written down and are tacitly accepted by people as the way things are.
Shaping culture of organization:
In order to shape the organization culture we need to consider the difference between a culture of organization and its climate. We can define these two terms by everyday analogy with person’s personality and mood. Someone’s personality is enduring and difficult to change whilst their mood may change many times during day. Culture in this analogy is the organizational personality, whilst climate is the organizational mood. Organizational climate can also be describe by the phrase, ‘the environment created in an organization to developed and support a performance enhancing culture. Fundamentally, a change of culture occurs when people start behaving differently as a result of a change in the climate of the organization.There is many different model of how an organizational culture is shaped by the prevailing climate.