In business, continuous improvement and lean six sigma principles are the most effective methods for identifying opportunities for streamlining work and reducing waste. By being able to identify a current process, procedure, workflow, or project, and determining how to improve it, businesses can reach optimal functionality. In fact, the continuous improvement method is such a revered tactic in the business world that some businesses try to claim they are “continuous improvement” or “lean six sigma” companies as a marketing ploy to bring in top talent and market the company to wall street as a choice investment.
But for businessman Halden Zimmermann, who has effectively used continuous improvement to increase the productivity of the many companies he has worked for in a wide variety of industries, determining if a company is a genuine advocate of continuous improvement requires the consideration of five distinct factors. First, a company that utilizes continuous improvement is not continuously restructuring. This may come as a surprise to lean six sigma experts, but Mr. Zimmermann explains that this is because many companies file for restructuring costs every year as a way of saving money. But if you do this, you are not a continuous improvement company because needing to do this means you do not have the processes, metrics, and long term strategies to stabilize a focused execution of your original plan. Continuous improvement companies are dynamic, and are able to use other methods to drive growth, cut costs, and surpass competition. For more, visit Halden Zimmermann Leica Microsystems.
Continuous improvement companies also have a standard business system that is documented, followed, and constantly improved upon. Having a functional business system is key to taking long-term strategies to short term execution. Performance indicators are a major part of a business system, and measurement allows companies to understand and mitigate problems before they get out of control. These systems also make sure teams are held accountable, typically done through a goals and action plan system. A business system should also include a financial model for the company, which must always balance to the profit side.
Furthermore, the best continuous improvement companies have strong process orientation in their commercial environments and back office areas, including sales, marketing, and new product development, and a strong sense of urgency. Mr. Zimmermann learned about the concept of a right sense of urgency from a professor at Harvard. A right sense of urgency is a mindset that is not measured, but set by the leader of the organization. It is an intuitive feeling of knowing what needs to be accomplished on a day to day basis, and knowing how to motivate your team to spring into action. For more, check out these Links About Halden Zimmermann.