A key indicator of a responsible and self-aware business owner is the understanding that perfection is not a static achievement. All it takes is for a company to become complacent in its processes and before long cracks will begin to form within the infrastructure. By acknowledging that there’s always room for improvement, even when everything appears to be running at optimal efficiency, a business gains the ability to see both the details and the bigger picture more clearly with each month that passes.
Damian White is the Managing Director of ClarityVM, a consultancy that supports the growth and enhancement of businesses across the UK through visual management products and innovative Lean programmes. He believes that every organisation, regardless of size or sector, should integrate continuous improvement at the core of its development strategy.
“It’s all about analysing operations, processes and outputs on an increasingly in-depth scale. This enables business owners and their teams to pinpoint any issues that are clogging up systems, inhibiting targets, delaying milestones and causing unnecessary waste. Once the philosophy is applied across the business, it’s amazing how many problems are removed that the staff weren’t even aware existed.”
Whilst continuous improvement is guaranteed to bring exceptional results when done well, it’s equally as likely to fail if there are gaps and discrepancies within its delivery. This is because CI has to be embraced across the board and ingrained into the company culture just as much as any other ethos. For instance, if the management team fails to practice what it preaches, employees will soon disregard the idea. Likewise, if managers stick to the plan but fail to empower their employees to do the same, the results will be minimal and inconsistent.
“Putting in place a continuous improvement strategy is guaranteed to bring multiple benefits to your business,” explains Damian. “These include increased productivity, improved quality of products and services, lower costs due to streamlined systems, shorter delivery times, greater employee loyalty, and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Just as crucially, it will help you to reduce waste in terms of materials, skills, time and energy usage, which benefits everything from profit margins to your company’s carbon footprint.”
Visual management products are at the centre of an effective continuous improvement programme. Covering a variety of forms such as magnetic overlay boards, cleaning stations, floor markings, workplace furniture, signage and control rooms, they each play a role in helping employees to connect with their work, immediately see how projects are progressing, and determine how individual tasks affect the end result.
“Visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text,” adds Damian. “By combining visual management tools with a continuous improvement mentality, you can significantly transform the way you operate. In fact, we’ve identified that implementing these solutions can save a retail business up to £1,485,000 a year across its stores, although even the smallest companies will see tangible results very quickly too.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about continuous improvement and visual management, get in touch with Damian White at ClarityVM on 01482 296451.