Facilitating Continuous Improvement

Introduction

There are many continuous improvement methodologies including Six Sigma, Lean, Kaizen and Sprint all designed to facilitate innovation and improvement within business processes. They all have their merits and challenges and without exception require full commitment throughout the organisation to realise the true benefits.

To get a flavour of what CI methodologies offer to an organisation and more importantly your customers let’s take LEAN as an example:

What is LEAN?

Jim Womack and Dan Jones two leading thinkers in the field of LEAN define the promise of lean thinking as:

“a way to specify value, line up value-creating actions in the best sequence, conduct those activities without interruption whenever someone requests them, and perform them more and more effectively. In short, lean thinking is lean because it provides a way to do more and more with less and less—less human effort, less human equipment, less time, and less space—while coming closer and closer to providing customers with exactly what they want.”

‘Less human effort’ unless managed well can immediately be interpreted as ‘job losses imminent’ by employees and as a consequence on hearing the word LEAN more energy will be spent trying to resist the initiative that to help be a part of its success! facilitate this! has been fortunate to work with organisations where less human effort on existing processes has been used as the springboard to innovation, opportunity and job creation. When introduced and facilitated well CI can engage and ignite employees in the business of delivering value to the customer.

Six Sigma is the most comprehensive of the CI methodologies and six sigma practitioners are developed and assessed through training for belts akin to Judo with the black belt the true master of the process, tools and insights to facilitate CI through the business.

Kaizen is about facilitating small improvements daily, incremental steps to CI and akin to not trying to eat the whole elephant. Organisations perform daily, office, manufacturing and blitz Kaizen’s to promote CI and to help teams to see and harness opportunities to improve and take responsibility for delivering the results. Kaizen is one of the tools of LEAN.

‘Five S’ is a great starting point for facilitating improvement, encouraging a systematic review of the workplace be that the factory floor or the office to identify operational environments and systems that can benefit from Sort, Standardise, Sustain, Set in Order and Shine and in order to improve safety, efficiency and consistency.

Sprint methodology has been designed to match the requirements of public sector innovation, specifically in relation to building IT requirements alongside continuously improving services. Facilitating stakeholder workshops from the project and/or supply chain to design the best fit solution whilst removing waste from the system.

How we can Help?... FOCUS on Facilitation Skills

Many organisations have invested heavily in training continuous improvement facilitators to introduce, workshop and project manage CI through the business, however not all have found the success they were expecting, with resistance to the programme, lack of contributions in workshops and lack of commitment to taking ideas into action. Whilst there are a host of organisations training people in the CI methodologies, few focus on the facilitation skills required to facilitate engagement, design and facilitate project workshops or work with resistance.

facilitate this! will help you or your CI team to build those skills and tools ahead of, alongside or following your chosen CI methodology to ensure you have a programme that develops anddelivers.

Our clients include: McCain, Unipart, SC Johnson, Lancashire County Council, RAF.

Contact us to find out more about our Continuous Improvement Facilitator Training and how we can help to support you or your team in building skills to enhance the confidence and effectiveness of your CI programme.

Contact us to find out more about facilitation.

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