Continuous improvement – Know the American and the Japanese method

If we analyze the application methodologies of the continuous process improvement philosophy, we will realize that the BPM technique is the most efficient among all. To better reach this conclusion and know what the continuous process improvement model is, there are three factors to consider.

The first is that this is a method that requires continuity. We improve a process and continue to study it and analyze it, searching to improve it again. It is a cyclic process that cannot end.

The second characteristic is that the continuous improvement model is more than a mere sequence of improvements implemented in a process. Continuous improvement has a cultural aspect that is strong, and we can even consider it a business philosophy. Because it has this cultural side, we must insert it in all the company’s levels, from the top management team to people working on operational areas.

The third aspect of the continuous improvement model is that we can see the emphasis that it gives to the fact that a change has to bring benefits to all.  It is not enough to improve an isolated area of the company or a segregated activity. The continuous improvement must include all processes and all the lives of those who participate in them.

The American continuous process improvement model – PDCA cycle

This system has this name because of the four steps that compose it:

  • P as in Plan
  • D as in Do, execute
  • C as in Check, analyze
  • A as in Act in a way to prevent error

Corporations use the PDCA methodology to improve the management level through the efficient control of processes and activities. The PDCA standardizes information and minimizes chances of errors in the decision-making process.

It is crucial to say that, once is implemented, the PDCA cycle must become a constant inside the company, a virtuous circle always aiming the continuous process improvement.

The Japanese continuous process improvement model – Kaizen

Kaizen is a Japanese term that means improvement. The concept implies a continuous effort involving all the functions at all levels of an organization.

The expression is so common that it is adopted in Japan in all aspects of life. Kaizen exists in the road system, international relations, educational system, etc. At work, it is usual that employees ask themselves and others how to improve the procedure, the product, the service, the equipment, etc.

Kaizen is applied in processes (production and business), products and services. Some of the commandments that rule Kaizen are:

  • Learn in practice.
  • Eliminate all waste.
  • All the staff has to be committed to the continuous process improvement model.
  • The productivity increase must be based on actions that do not ask for high financial investments.
  • It must be applied in any place or company.
  • The improvements obtained have to be disseminated, as a way to maintain a transparent communication.
  • Actions must focus in the areas that need the most.
  • Kaizen must be implemented in a manner that its purpose is only the process improvement.
  • The most important part is to improve the people.

As we saw, the crucial thing is to see the continuous process improvement model really as an ongoing process, aiming to improve more and more the processes, the people and the company as a whole. Now, continue on our website and know all about the BPM  and business process improvement techniques that will improve your business.

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