Why use consultants to implement continuous improvement?
Let’s discover the 4 reasons to work with an external team to implement your continuous improvement process
What is “continuous improvement”?
Continuous improvement is a structured approach to optimizing processes to generate more value for employees and customers. Continuous improvement keeps pace with innovation and progress in the marketplace. Continuous improvement reduces effort by allowing ourselves to review the processes that make up our organization.
You may have heard of Kaizen, Lean, Six Sigma, DMAIC, Kata, Incremental Innovation, CI… Different approaches, but the objective remains the same: to improve!
The biggest LIE about continuous improvement
It’s the idea that you have to do continuous improvement all the time… so all the time. The truth is that you have to find a good rhythm to improve.. What is an efficient rhythm? It’s like dancing. Dancers follow the rhythm of the music to avoid stepping on each other’s toes. It’s the same with continuous improvement. We need to find the rhythm that will allow us to consistently improve without stepping on the toes of operations.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine your efficient pace: :
- How many people and what roles should we involve in our continuous improvement initiatives?
- What are the essential workshops to be carried out according to our continuous improvement approach?
- What are the deadlines for implementing solutions? 5 days, 60 days, …
For small and medium-sized companies, an efficient improvement rhythm could be one continuous improvement initiative per season. For a large company, it could be one continuous improvement initiative per department per season. At the end of the day, you have assured your teams of having completed 4 initiatives per year, 8 after two years and so on.
Reason 1: An external team like the Bambou Space team will allow you to focus your efforts, complete the initiative and get the desired return on investment.
No more homework
The challenge with continuous improvement is that you have to MASTER the approach to get the expected benefits. Online courses or trainings can convey the key concepts, but they often struggle to put them into practice.
This is in addition to the fact that leaders will have to learn the concepts AND they will have to facilitate the work sessions by applying these concepts. In addition, because the leader has to facilitate the workshops, it is difficult for them to participate in the discussions in the same way as the other participants.
Reason 2: An external team such as the experts at Bambou Space will allow you to learn with a concrete example that can be applied to your organization, to avoid the pressure of facilitating the workshops yourself and to achieve the desired benefits more quickly.
It’s the boss’s idea. Yes, but…
In order for a solution to be implemented, you have to make sure that the employees buy into the idea. What does that mean? Any idea that does not come from an exercise involving the people who do the work cannot be sustained over time. Even if that idea comes from a leader or the boss of the company. And it’s easy to fall into the trap. Imagine a leader who decides to lead a workshop himself, how will he be able to demonstrate to his team that he is not biased and that he is really listening to everyone? It’s not easy.
Fortunately, the continuous improvement approach comes to our rescue: it is structured, efficient and repeatable. It allows us to take a step back from a given problem, to think differently and to find new solutions. The approach involves the people who do the work and seeks consensus.
Reason 3: By using an expert in continuous improvement, you ensure NEUTRAL and effective facilitation to find solutions that will be maintained over time.
Curiosity, an underestimated lever
“Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”
- Albert Einstein
We all like to have unique experiences and think outside the box. We also want to find out how it works in others. Ultimately, it will always be easier to experiment with a new sport or activity with the assistance of a qualified person.
Continuous improvement may be a well-established concept for you and you have been doing it for the last 20 years, for example. However, the tools have evolved and the approaches have been renewed. Not to mention that the same concepts can now be applied in the digital age and in a telecommuting context. For example, have you ever heard of the digital 5S, digital tools to support bottom-up, the remote work cell, simultaneous collaboration (versus simultaneous engineering), value stream mapping for the integration of computer systems. Curious?
Reason 4: External continuous improvement experts work with multiple teams, identify best practices, renew their approach and introduce new powerful tools.
To further your thinking, we invite you to read our article on the foundations of continuous improvement.