Operations Q&A: Continuous Process Improvement – Critical . . . or Not? - Modern Distribution Management

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Operations Q&A: Continuous Process Improvement – Critical . . . or Not?

The goal of any company should be constant improvement.

Editor’s Note: Lee Schwartz is principal at the Schwartz Profitability Group. He will be blogging occasionally for MDM on the topic of distribution operations. His blog will be presented in a Q&A format. If you have questions regarding operations for Schwartz, please email him at lee@schwartzpro.com. Learn more about Schwartz at the bottom of this blog.

Question: Continuous Process Improvement – Critical . . . or Not?

Answer: What if Amazon stopped improving as customer demand increased? Would shopping with them be the breeze it is today? Not a chance.

Imagine if Apple stopped improving the iPad after introducing the original version. Would users be satisfied? Probably not.

The goal of any company should be constant improvement. Sir Winston Churchill is credited with this famous quote: “If you’re standing still you’re falling behind.” The world is littered with companies that didn’t survive because they didn’t keep up. MySpace, Blockbuster. How many of you remember Sears’ old competitor Montgomery Ward?

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is an ongoing effort aimed at improving the business processes used to provide goods and services. CPI targets process simplification and reduction to eliminate waste. Think about the tasks you perform. Can they be completed in fewer steps? How many dollars would that save your department/the company?

Bottom Line: The notion of CPI is not one of those fads that comes and goes. It should become a culture – a way of life – that is tactical in its implementation but strategic in its concept. CPI will improve the bottom line by reducing waste, improving product quality and increasing efficiency and productivity.

Is a CPI program critical? There’s no time like the present to get started.

Lee Schwartz, former CEO and president of distribution and manufacturing companies, is principal of the Schwartz Profitability Group (SPG) that, for almost 13 years, has uncorked the operational bottlenecks of distribution and manufacturing companies, boosting their bottom line results. His consulting and operational turnaround work helps clients find solutions related to process improvement, supply chain management, inventory control, workflow design, and operational performance.

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