Continuous Improvement Processes

Course Description

On completion of this course, participants will have available a wide range of tools and techniques for the practical application of Continuous Improvement in their workplace. The material will cover the standard approaches in the quality movement; (e.g. 6-sigma, TQM), plus the shift to Lean Manufacturing and the ramifications to cost, inventory and scheduling. Project management will be introduced and the participants will undertake their own work-related project.

Module #1 – What is the Continuous Improvement Philosophy?

  • Explain the nature of continuous improvement programs in industry today.
  • Examine the recent history of North American businesses in terms of quality and productivity in a globally competitive world.
  • Analyze the Continuous Improvement processes in an organization and compare it with others.
  • Describe the manufacturing objectives including the stakeholders involved in meeting these objectives.
  • Compare and contrast the basic quality positions taken by two Pioneers in the field, W.E. Deming and J.M. Juran.

Module #2 – The Continuous Improvement Cycle and the Cost of Quality

  • Explain the importance of measurement of an operation or function in order to analyze performance and establish controls.
  • Asses what can be measured, what currently is being measured and what might be measured to improve control within my department.
  • Explain the basic principles of gathering useful data.
  • Analyze the costs of implementing or not implementing a Continuous Improvement program.
  • Explain the ‘Plan, Do’ Check, Act’ cycle and the 12 steps involved in the Continuous Improvement model.

Module #3 – What’s Required for Success?

  • Explain the importance of Continuous Improvement (CI) and the impact CI can have on an organization.
  • Describe the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) and the holistic approach to a successful TQM system.
  • Assess the steps required for implementing CI driven changes to an organization.

Module #4 – What Tools do You Have?

  • Explain the shift in global thinking that has taken place regarding the concept of “quality”; specifically the “revolution” brought about by the introduction of Statistical Process Control (SPC).
  • Examine options for a wider application within a department based on a review of information on the use of statistical methods.
  • Analyze specific applications for a department or organization based on an evaluation of a variety of tools and techniques used in CI programs.

Module #5 – Project Management

  • Evaluate possible implementation of project management concepts within a continuous improvement initiative.
  • Assess which concepts are applicable to various project types that exist in a manufacturing organization.
  • Assess the opportunities for a project manager within an organization.

Module #6 – The World of ‘Lean’

  • Describe the Lean Manufacturing methods available for minimizing the resources applied to output.
  • Analyze which Lean Manufacturing methods might be implemented immediately to impact the business based on input from a team.
  • Assess the opportunities for implementing Lean tools to establish a business advantage.

Module #7 – More Concepts for a ‘Lean’ World

  • Describe the principles and best practices of Just-in-Time.
  • Explain the following key elements including how they work together to create a holistic approach to managing a flow system:
    • Benchmarking
    • Push vs Pull
    • Bottlenecks
    • Kaizen
  • Analyze how Just-In-Time best practices are employed in an organization.

Module #8 – Standards and Benchmarks

  • Describe the criteria and processes for departments and organizations to determine which standards are most appropriate for them.
  • As part of a team, evaluate standards and benchmarks used in organizations.
  • Assess the opportunities that exist for an organization to determine how benchmarks and standards can increase productivity.

Module #9 – Case Studies

  • Describe a project and the types of issues to consider before creating a plan.
  • Evaluate a Continuous Improvement case study.
  • Design a Continuous Improvement project including an overview presentation for the organization.

Module #10 – Project Reports and New Beginnings

  • Prepare a report and presentation on a Continuous Improvement project.
  • Plan a Continuous Improvement project including implementation steps and a timeline for completion.
  • Evaluate the Continuous Improvement projects and presentations in order to provide feedback to the project team.