Teaching your team to “fish where the fish are”.

There are companies around the world that are reaping fantastic benefits on an ongoing basis because they have set strong performance standards and have trained all employees on how to continuously improve performance so they can achieve those higher standards. The continuous improvement process has become a way of life in those companies. They know that continuous improvement relies on the commitment of empowered employees working in multidisciplinary teams to objectively measure and improve business processes to continually enhance customer satisfaction. So why do some companies get it right while others fail to reap the benefits?

Why companies fail:

  • Lack of senior leadership championing the continuous improvement initiative.
  • Failure to get employee buy-in – not explaining “the WHY”
  • Lack of a structured implementation plan that includes change management, training, project management, communication and ownership from within.
  • Absence of an ongoing daily, weekly and monthly routine of follow up on company performance
  • Focusing only on technology improvements rather than engaging staff in a true culture of continuous improvement, which is harder and takes more time.

What successful companies do:

  • Focus on people and processes, in addition to technology and IT systems for improvement
  • Keep it simple
  • Share the goals across their teams
  • Make a clear link between staff actions and the company results
  • Leadership visibly championing the culture needed to realize the results
  • Set an ongoing routine of reviewing and acting on key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Focus on the important things – not everything!
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities so the whole can be improved by managing the parts
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up…

First Key operations specialists are real industry people with contemporary plant management experience. Our team has hands-on experience planning, leading and working with breweries and beverage companies to sustainably implement continuous improvement programs. We assist clients to improve their cost competitiveness through progressive productivity improvements, modern product processing techniques and superior education and training. When embarking on an improvement program it is critical to choose those strategic processes that will make a real and visible, difference to the business. By focusing on areas that can have a major impact everyone is energized and solutions can reap big gains in performance and profit.

The First Key formula for successful implementation includes:

  • Ensuring that the improvement team’s composition is such that it can create the necessary changes on its own. Leaders effect meaningful change.
  • Selecting key strategic processes for improvement. Fish where the fish are, if you like.
  • Ensuring that improvement team members have a good in-depth knowledge (competence) of the various improvement tools, including problem identification and analysis.