Credit: Original article published here.
What exactly is continuous improvement?
A continual improvement process, also often called a continuous improvement process (abbreviated as CIP or CI), is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.
What it means to us here at Wells Concrete is that we strive to improve every single day by using the many tools that are associated with CI.
We have a 5S program at all the production plants that everyone has embraced and follows every day. We do weekly and monthly audits to make sure that we stay on track.
We also collect and record all the Non-Conformance Reports (NCR) at all our production facilities in order to understand how we are operating. When we do have NCRs, the operations team works together to solve the issue, and we use group huddles in the mornings to discuss the previous days performance. We also use action plans and accountability charts to make sure we are accountable and logging any changes in the process.
We have also started collecting data out in the field when the panels are being erected on site. This feedback will be vital to the operations folks as we get even better at the process of producing the highest quality precast that we can.
Continuous improvement is not just for operations. Safety in our plants and field is taken very seriously and we take the exact same approach to be the safest company we can be. We use an app called SEE tracker that helps all departments enter unsafe dangers in our plants and field. Just like with the NCRs, these all have people attached to them and accountability to solve the issue as soon as possible.
Continuous improvement is a journey, this work is never ever done. Just when you think you have solved one issue another is right around the corner waiting to be solved. I usually end any operations meeting with the quote “if you walked through the plant and didn’t find anything wrong go look again.”
Vice President – Quality Control