What Is Continual Improvement?

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Continual improvement is a key element of total quality. One talks about improvement of products. Whatever they may be. In most cases, it would be more accurate to talk about continual improvement of processes that yields improved products and services. Those processes can reside in the engineering department, where the design process may be improved by adding concurrent engineering and design for manufacture techniques, or in the public sector, where customer satisfaction becomes a primary consideration. All people use processes, and all people are customers of processes. A process that cannot be improved is rare. Most people have only a general idea of what processes are, how they work, what external forces affect them, and how capable they…show more content…
People, processes, management practices, and products should improve continually. Masaaki Imai gives an overview of the concept that is summarized in the following paragraphs:

Kaizen value system
The underlying value system of kaizen can be summarized as continual improvement of all things, at all levels, at all time, forever. All of the strategies for achieving this fall under kaizen. Executive managers, middle managers, supervisors, and line employees all play key roles in implementing kaizen.

Role of executive management
Executive managers are responsible for establishing kaizen as the overriding corporate strategy and communication this commitment to all levels of the organization, allocating the resources necessary for kaizen to work, establishing appropriate policies, ensuring full deployment of kaizen policies, and establishing systems, procedures, and structures that promote kaizen.

Role of middle managers
Middle managers are responsible for implementing the kaizen policies established by executive management, establishing, maintaining, and improving work standards, ensuring that employees receive the training necessary to understand and implement kaizen, and ensuring that employees learn how to use all applicable problem solving
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Total quality management focuses on continuous improvement of organizational processes resulting in high quality products and services. The ideal goal of total quality management is do things right the first time and every time. The customer is the ultimate judge of quality.

Quality cannot be improved without significant losses in productivity. It is imperative that the top management provides leadership and support for quality initiatives. Quality goals are moving targets and improving quality requires establishment of effective metrics. The three aspects of total quality management are counting, customers and culture. Customer’s impression of quality begins from the initial contact with the company and continues throughout the life of the product. All departments of the organization must strive to improve the quality of their operations. Value based approach relies on service dimensions like reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and
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