Data is king
Spreadsheets are a superb tool for performing quick calculations and visualizations. But they fail miserably when the goal is to track long-term trends and share those results with stakeholders — especially when multiple parties need to contribute the raw data needed to derive those results.
By allowing organizations to collect any kind of data, then automatically feed that data to key performance indicators and ad hoc reports and dashboards, a modern continuous improvement platform virtually eliminates the need for spreadsheets — and the headaches and quality issues that result from their use.
Whatever model they choose to use — whether lean, six sigma, TQM, or others — continuous improvement professionals produce results. But unless those results are transparently and effectively communicated, not just to management but to the organization as a whole, their impact is diminished, if not entirely nullified.
Through the judicious use of key performance indicators, user-definable reports, and automated alerts, CI professionals can ensure their voice is heard and their work gets the attention it deserves. And by engaging the entire organization, they can generate the awareness that’s so critical to creating a quality-centered culture.
Crowdsource great ideas
The best ideas an organization generates hardly ever come from board and conference rooms. Those on the front lines of operations live and breathe on a daily basis the inefficiencies that make their jobs harder. Giving them a voice to enter their suggestions generates an abundance of raw material for improvements, which can then be measured for effectiveness and often implemented within the same closed-loop system.
Nothing generates greater support for a continuous improvement program than engaging the workforce directly and then showing them, in real terms, the results of their participation. But organizations that truly want to effect cultural change go even further, by celebrating wins, no matter how small, that come out of organizational alignment. Doing that produces a virtuous feedback loop that not only keeps the entire population engaged, but even accelerates the positive effects of that engagement.