Coronavirus is affecting businesses, there is no getting around it and we are in for a bumpy ride. Businesses are facing all kinds of challenges in staffing, supply, delivery, sales, profits and morale.

Now is the Time Adapt, Change and Improve…

Quite often when something big happens that shakes a business (and boy is this BIG…), focus is taken away from improvement programmes. People become channeled, running on the treadmill of dealing with the daily issues and firefighting. However, it’s the high-level holistic view that’s needed to spot risk and identify opportunities.

Running Continuous Improvement & Lean Programmes can enable you to take that high-level view, identify and put in place the actions required to safeguard your business.

  1. Teams Need to Be Problem Solving

CI is problem solving, we always start with the problem statement. The conditions for effective problem solving requires collaboration and a safe space to observe, question and brainstorm.

Problem solving improves with practice, the more people problem-solve the better people become at it, when embedded in the company culture problem solving becomes second nature and businesses become much more agile, adapting and changing quicker to external conditions.

By using the creative part of the brain, people develop that high level and peripheral view, where they can spot problems before they occur. These skills are imperative to helping your team overcome the obstacles they are about to face…

Tip # Start with brainstorming, create a problem statement, involve a cross section of people, give everyone a voice, treat every idea as valuable, never allow people to disagree or shout down ideas. Use scoring matrix to prioritise ideas.

  1. Saves Your Business Money

Cashflow is going to be a big concern in the current climate, CI can help strengthen the business by reducing costs and saving money. However, it is essential that Improvement Programmes are aligned with the financials and costs, savings and ROI are tracked according. Make sure the Financial Controller is a key stakeholder/sponsor of the programme, and target improvement activity where savings are hard and hit that bottom line.

TIP # Review Your current programme for hard saving, hold a project selection workshop use the financials to guide you to where the biggest savings can be made, where is the biggest spend, and dig deeper e.g. is it raw materials for instance? Why is the spend high, price, waste, quality, inventory levels etc.

  1. Saves Your Business Time

You are going to need to do more with less, with sickness, staff taking time out to care for family, school closures etc.

Removing waste, constraints, optimising set-ups,  improving flow will save you time, time that could be converted into hard saving but perhaps more importantly help you become more agile & flexible giving you the opportunity to do things differently, perhaps more flexible shift patterns.

TIP # Get out on the shop floor do a Gemba walk, observe and identify Waste and Process Constraints. Good tools are the 5Ws & 1H (Who, What, When, Where, Why & How), the seven wastes TIMWOOD, identify the wastes and constraints and then quantify and prioritise.

  1. Improve Morale & Team Spirit

You need your crew to get through this storm, if you can inspire and engage people that will make all the difference. So how do you go about doing that when people have real personal worries of their own now?

It’s going to take empathetic and supportive leadership, listening to people, praising the effort rather than the performance.

If people can chip in, help and be part of securing the businesses future, they will develop a sense of purpose and give them inspiration and hope. We want them to have that feeling of   “we a have got this!”

Tip # Walk around the business and get to know people ask their advice and listen to them, take an interest in them personally. If they connect with you and feel respected, they will engage and put in that extra effort.

  1. Future Proofing

We have no idea what the long-term economic outlook is but there is a good chance that we are on the brink of a global downturn. If businesses are going to survive, they need to be able to adapt, change problem solve. CI supports all of this; CI is change management. The world is changing we have no choice our businesses must change, however with change there is opportunities. If we can be creative an innovative, we can find those opportunities and grow in ways we never imagined possible.

Tip # Don’t wait get on and drive that Continuous Improvement Programme.

If you are worried about pulling people together use technology, we have Skype and zoom there is no excuse these days not to collaborate and work together. Give people the right conditions and you will unlock the creativity and generate innovative solutions.

A bit about me

I help Manufacturing and Engineering Businesses achieve their operational performance goals, eliminate performance issues and save time and money.

Our programme will empower your team to drive improvement and deliver results, whilst saving your business time, money and delivering a ROI.

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Zoe Darlington

One thought on “5 Ways Continuous Improvement Can Prevent Your Business Succumbing to COVID19!

  1. I do agree with all of the concepts you’ve offered on your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post. resebrandvarnare bast i test

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