Managers and their teams should be forever looking for ways to improve anytime, anywhere, at any level, no matter how small the improvement
One popular ‘Continuous Improvement’ approach is the use of Quality Circles, first devised by Dr Akira Ishikawa – he also invented the cause-and-effect fish diagram
Quality Circles assume most employees will want to take part in solving their own work problems and making their jobs more interesting
If and when thousands of ideas for incremental improvements are generated, the cumulative gain from using many of them can be enormous – and without incurring the same costs, risks and work disruption associated with any ‘quantum leap’ change project
Potential Quality Circle benefits?
1,000 x 0.1% improvement >>> 1 x 20% improvement
Eiji Toyoda, Toyota chairman, said: “Our workers generate some 1.5 million suggestions a year, and 95% of them are put to practical use”