Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on June 06, 2017

Regardless of the industry, business competitiveness is fundamental. Lean thinking helps improve competitiveness by instilling a culture of continuous improvement. In a Lean culture, the entire organization is committed to a thought process and actions that increase productivity, sales, and market share. Lean methodology aims to deliver maximum value while minimizing waste.

Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Today, in order to be successful, all areas of a company – beyond production – need Lean thinking.

When employees are trained to “think Lean,” they ask important questions: “why?” (why do it?), “what?” (what do we need?) and “how?” (how does it connect to other processes and how will we accomplish this?). When anchored on Lean principles, the answers will drive a competitive advantage, as demonstrated through:

  • Increased quality through fewer defects and rework
  • Increased efficiency from fewer machine/process breakdowns
  • Improved customer service through faster response times
  • Increased cash flow by reducing inventory
  • Increased throughput due to streamlined processes
  • Improved employee engagement and morale as individuals feel more empowered to share their ideas and see the personal impact they make
  • Increased creativity as team adopts Lean thinking
  • Increased profit.

So how do successful companies integrate Lean into their businesses? It starts with training employees to understand and use Lean principles, systems and tools. A formal, global certification process, such as Lean Certification, can ensure excellence and consistency both company- and industry-wide. There is a depth of expertise that comes with the training and development required to achieve levels of certification – and continuing education, training, and work experience required to maintain their credentials. While individuals may pursue Lean certification on their own, companies often choose to certify whole groups within the company so they can drive simultaneous improvements in the business.

When implemented as an overarching business philosophy, Lean drives sustainable improvements and results within an organization, offering immense value for both businesses and individuals.

To learn more about the value of Lean and Lean certification, download a copy of our complimentary white paper, “Lean In to Continuous Improvement.”

Tags: "continuous improvement", lean, "lean certification", "lean culture", "lean philosophy", manufacturing, SME, "Tooling U-SME"