February 9, 2022

Continuous Improvement (CI) is a great way to increase efficiency and address challenges in all aspects of business, including the production process and even the front office. But implementing CI programs requires time, commitment, and a leader who’s invested in improving the workplace. It’s important to set realistic expectations for a CI process, remain consistent, and understand the impact that training your team in Lean Manufacturing or Six Sigma programs has. In order to become a leader who fosters a successful culture of CI, you have to first understand that it is not just a method of training; it’s a mindset.

Setting Expectations

When implementing a CI process, you “have to understand that CI is an investment,” according to Jeff Kopenitz, Advanced Manufacturing Lean Master and DVIRC strategic partner. Changing the standardized practices on the shop floor or training employees in waste- and defect-reducing methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma can take significant time and effort. We help our clients understand that when you invest in your employees, you always see a return. We promise a 100% ROI when partnering with us for Six Sigma training.

Even if you don’t see an increased bottom line right away, it’s important to always remain consistent with your CI process. CI practitioners know they often have to be patient before seeing results. CI programs like Lean and Six Sigma have been producing results for manufacturers for decades, so if you’re working with experts, you can count on results. Depending on the part of the production process you’re working on, sometimes results will be less dramatic than others, but any reduction in waste or variation adds up to improve efficiency. We recently talked to our client at Liberty Coca-Cola beverages who said it best:

“This project saved us money instantly, but it was about more than the dollars. Our company is dedicated to caring for the environment so this project helped us build the process to live that value.”- Michael Luber, Vice President of Business Transformation & Operational Excellence, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages

Investing in Employees

A true CI leader knows one of the most important parts of creating a culture of improvement is employee involvement. It can seem like a waste of time to provide employees with training that will take their focus away from achieving tasks. However, our CI programs are designed to provide hands-on training through a learn-and-do approach. For example, while in our Six Sigma training program at Liberty Coca-Cola, cohorts discovered that drivers were leaving trucks idling for too long while unloading. Our learn-and-do approach helped them to reduce idling time by making a system that shut engines off. This process reduced idling by 47%, saving money and carbon emissions.

Investing in your employees can help your company by making them better problem-solvers and empowering them to implement CI processes. It also encourages your employees to want to do better to see their efforts make a difference in real-time.

“I loved seeing past cohorts check in on the new ones, following up with projects that they completed during their training sessions. There’s a culture of empowerment now and everyone on their team is willing to collaborate because they know they are being invested in.”- Alan Shell: Director of Continuous Improvement, DVIRC

DVIRC’s CI experts can help you learn how to lead a workplace with a continuous improvement mindset. Our consulting services have helped companies achieve $60.64 million in increased sales and $16.57 million in savings in 2020 alone.

Learn more about how we can support your continuous improvement, visit our CI resources.