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THE 7 PREREQUISITES FOR SUCCESSFUL CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

An organization that embarks on a Continuous Improvement (CI) program need to have the following prerequisites before in order to have a sustaining success to the survival of the company.

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  1. CI Culture embedded into the organization The 1st and foremost important factor that an organization must have in driving a sustaining improvement. In a simple term this means the way things are done in the organization. The thoughts and practices of people throughout the organization must be changed to adopt the continuous improvement culture.
  2. An understanding on concept of culture Senior Managers need to have an understanding the concept of culture. This will allow the managers to understand the behavior in the organization and also assist on how to make the changes in the organization to embrace the CI culture.
  3. Streamline the organizational hierarchy The organization should be geared toward a common strategy or principle. The departments should not work in silos taking care of their own interest, rather work towards achieving common goal. Culture of continuous improvement will support the streamline the organization into a common team.
  4. Strong Executive Sponsorship Good CI initiatives will most likely lead to changes in systems and processes. In order for the changes to take place, senior management support and commitment will be required. The support can be in terms of allocation of resources or moral support to implementation teams.Another indication of strong executive sponsorship is by ensuring CI forms a part of Management Cycle. This will ensure CI initiatives are discussed as part of organization strategy. A passionate leadership on CI is required to ensure a sustainable improvement
  5. A defined CI Road-map A road-map that states in detail the CI journey will be a good start to ensure the success of the CI efforts. A road map, most likely will be developed at top level thus indicating formal commitment of the management team. Teams will have better clarity on what is being done and what will be done in the longer term. A major failure of CI efforts is that it is not continuous. This issue can be addressed by having a a clear road-map.
  6. Strategic Mapping of Projects CI initial efforts should be targeted at low hanging fruits and also target at those that can be easily implemented. One of the easiest tool that be bring immediate result is 5S housekeeping projects. Target the 5S projects at most disorganized areas for improvement. Success in this area will bring support from everyone in the organization.
  7. Education on CI for Senior Managers Senior Managers must have a clear understanding on the concept and context of CI. They must be able to differentiate between breakthrough improvement and incremental improvement which forms the CI efforts. The senior managers must also have some knowledge on tools and techniques that be used in CI efforts. Most importantly, flexibility in usage of tools must be emphasized. This includes a clear understanding on PDCA, 5S, Kaizen, Six Sigman, Lean and etc.

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