Continuous Improvement

When I was just a wee boy (actually in my late 20’s early 30’s) I was given my first real / formal introduction to continuous improvement. Prior to that my actions in this area had been ones of inherent belief rather than explicit knowledge. The story goes a bit like this:

The production manager called me into his office and asked me which football team I supported. An easy question, “Newcastle United” I replied. Next question, “If you could replace any person in the team who would that be?” Now that was a little tougher but I think I chose the left back. Next question, “So if you’ve replaced him, who would be next?” Hang on, this is getting tougher, so I think I plumped for the right winger. “And the next one?” he asked. Well you can see where this was going and so could I. After I replaced all 11 players with the cream of British and World Football I had a team that would beat everyone in sight, a lovely thought. Then the killer question, “So who would you replace in a few years time?” Of course I had no real answer to this because I didn’t know who would age the fastest, who might get injured and lose their edge or who might just go off the boil. But what was clear is that I would at some stage have to replace all of them over time. And that was his point about continuous improvement. Not only was it continuous (the clue is in the name) but also you needed to keep measuring to see where you were and what needed to be improved.

Not rocket science is it?

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About the author

Dave Dyer

Dave Dyer is a principal consultant within the Operations Improvement team in ABB Consulting. His speciality is in bringing sustainable change and operational benefits to an organisation through the engagement of its people. He hopes to share good ideas and good practice, to inform and to learn.
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