Production, Quality & Manufacturing

Continuous Improvement Process

Shewart Cycle

The Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. It’s is a six-step systematic approach to plan, sequence and implement improvement efforts using data and elaborates on the Shewhart Cycle (Act, Plan, Do, Study). The CIP provides a common language and methodology which enables understanding the improvement process. The CIP always links back to each organization’s own goals and priorities.

Continuous improvement is the act of continually looking to improve upon a process, product, or service through small incremental steps.

Why Use a Continuous Improvement Process:

Implementing a Continuous Improvement Process in an organization should be standard practice now. Studies have shown the main benefits of a CIP are:

  • Increase productivity,
  • Better teamwork and morale,
  • Greater agility,
  • Less waste,
  • More efficiency
  • Increase in profit.

The six (6) steps of the Continuous Improvement Process are:

  1. Identify Improvement Opportunity: Select the appropriate process for improvement.
    • Evaluate Process:
    • Select a challenge/problem
  2. Analyze: Identify and verify the root cause(s).
  3. Take Action: Plan and implement actions that correct the root cause(s).
  4. Study Results: Confirm the actions taken to achieve the target.
  5. Standardize Solution: Ensure the improved level of performance is maintained.
  6. Plan for the Future:
    • Plan what is to be done with any remaining problems
    • Evaluate the team’s effectiveness Set a target for improvement
CIP Development Cycle [1]


The Best Time to Start a Continuous Improvement Process

There is no bad time to start using plan a continuous improvement process but the sooner the better. Below is a list of the times I believe a CIP should be implemented:

  • Beginning of a new project
  • Development of processes and procedures
  • Developing a new or improved product, or service
  • Planning data collection and analysis
  • Implementing any change to a process
  • Whenever a failure occurs

Tools that can be used to help with the Continual Improvement Process are:

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 4/12/2021

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