Concept Of Continuous Improvement

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Task 6
Explain the concept of continuous improvement

Continual improvement is a key element of total quality. One talks about improvement of products. Whatever they may be. In most cases, it would be more accurate to talk about continual improvement of processes that yields improved products and services. Those processes can reside in the engineering department, where the design process may be improved by adding concurrent engineering and design for manufacture techniques, or in the public sector, where customer satisfaction becomes a primary consideration. All people use processes, and all people are customers of processes. A process that cannot be improved is rare. Most people have only a general idea of what processes are, how they work,
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Then the process can be observed in operation and determine its natural variation. Once a process is in this state of statistical control, it can be tracked, using control charts, for any trends or newly introduced special causes. Process improvements can be implemented and monitored.

The kaizen approach
Kaizen is the name given by the Japanese to the concept of continual incremental improvement. Kaizen means making changes for the better on a continual, never ending basis. The improvement aspect of kaizen refers to people, processes, and products.

If the kaizen philosophy is in place, all aspects of an organisation should be improving all the time. People, processes, management practices, and products should improve continually. Masaaki Imai gives an overview of the concept that is summarized in the following paragraphs:

Kaizen value system
The underlying value system of kaizen can be summarized as continual improvement of all things, at all levels, at all time, forever. All of the strategies for achieving this fall under kaizen. Executive managers, middle managers, supervisors, and line employees all play key roles in implementing
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Elements of total quality management speak about leadership, education and training, support structure, communications, rewards and recognition, and measurement or metrics. The critical success factors hinges on areas of managerial action and planning that must be practiced to achieve quality management. The critical success factors are very essential for total quality management and if it fails, the process gets terminated. Performance evaluation is based on quality, top management’s responsibility for quality performance, acceptance of responsibility for quality by major department heads, consideration of quality as first priority, discussing quality related issues in meetings and degree of comprehensiveness of quality plan. The ability of an organisation to adapt to change in the business environment to capture best practices and achieve and maintain competitive performance is also critical for total quality management to be successful. Input is company’s total quality effort and output is the level of performance of the
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