CI drives business success on an ongoing basis because it uses broad-based employee input, clearly defined and measurable goals, and built-in tracking mechanisms. Under this process, every employee in every facet of business (from design to manufacturing to sales and administrative support functions) works to find ways to maximize opportunities and increase profitability.
The Continuous Improvement Umbrella illustrates how each system relates. Every day, at any time, we can use one, two or all three CI components found under the CI Umbrella to sharpen our focus, measure our progress and gain new perspective.
Continuous Improvement Umbrella
Three Components of Continuous Improvement
Continuous Improvement processes consist of three main components.
Component One: Manufacturing Excellence Basics (MEB) or CI Roadmaps
The common language for Alcan Packaging’s business and CI is outlined in the Manufacturing Excellence Basics (MEB) or CI Roadmaps methodology. With MEB, we use fundamental systems to manage and improve our processes; these systems are required to ensure success.
MEB and CI Roadmaps help us focus on a directional approach to realizing the most important goals. They also provide structure to carry out our business plans. CI Roadmaps allow every business, no matter how different, to manage and sustain measured improvement. Alcan Packaging has deemed three Foundational Roadmap Elements as mandatory priorities for each of its business. They are:
- Policy Deployment/Improvement Goals
- Workplace Organization/Visual Management
- Work Standards & Best Practices
In addition, each sector must complete an annual Gap Analysis to reveal other roadmap elements needed to improve the business. Each business group determines the Economic Value Added (EVA) at stake and links specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to these high-priority initiatives so progress can be monitored.
Roadmap Elements help managers decide what to do next to improve our business. The roadmaps can be visually represented as simple building blocks. These illustrate the importance of creating a strong base from which to build and grow a business and serve customers. Some roadmaps target manufacturing processes, but many are cross functional to help support groups fully integrate and serve our business.
Each business must review performance on a regular basis as a reality check on improvement. A business unit can use the self-audit tool to review roadmap performance at any time. Business groups assign managers responsibility for specific roadmaps in their job descriptions to encourage them to develop actions and to see that they take ownership in the improvement. At the end of the year, an audit will gauge year-over-year improvement related to the Foundational Roadmap Elements.