Continuous improvement sounds like a no-brainer. Whether we’re talking about footy training, your kids’ maths homework, or your business, constantly getting a little bit better is a good goal.
So, what does it mean for Aussie manufacturers?
Continuous improvement is an area of Lean management that looks at processes, systems and assets which can be incrementally improved.
The job of continuous improvement is never finished.
Whether you’re a big business, SME or start-up, it’s essential not to rest on your heels.
But while the goalposts move every time you reach a target, the benefits keep building.
And here’s the good news: with an ERP system made for manufacturing, designing and implementing a continuous improvement program becomes significantly easier.
1. Increased workforce engagement
Around 22% of manufacturing industry employees in Australia are unsatisfied in their job. While another 52% reported being “satisfied”, only a quarter could say they were very satisfied at work.
That was pre-pandemic. Now, as the AFR reports, workers value culture, job security and the big one, flexibility.
Continuous improvement programs address these issues by:
- Empowering employees to problem-solve (and rewarding those who do)
- Squashing production problems early before they become major issues
- Enabling innovation from every level of the business
- Creating a positive feedback loop between management and staff
2. Reduced staff turnover
Survey after survey lands at the same conclusion that workers who are more productive and feel supported in their roles will be less likely to quit.
A continuous improvement program enables productivity and flexibility that keeps people motivated and happy.
Let’s look at a hypothetical. A forklift driver notices a chronic problem in the warehouse. Too much low-value material is hogging valuable storage space. Rather than getting fed up, she takes her concern to management, who listens to her suggestions for a better ordering system.
Soon, the ordering problem is solved with an agile approach, and the forklift driver is satisfied. Management acknowledges her contributions, and everyone is happy.
3. More competitive products and services
Continuous improvement is a great way to innovate incrementally. In line with Lean methodology, implementing a continuous improvement program ensures every level of the business is on the lookout for those small and medium wins that add up to huge gains:
- Shortening production cycles
- Cutting waste
- Reducing downtime
- Material quality improvements
- Better quality testing
4. Improved customer service
As well as making manufacturers more competitive, continuous improvement – and an ERP like Jobman – enables better customer interactions.
We discussed the Lean concept of value-added vs non-value-added activities in an earlier blog.
A continuous improvement program is an always-on approach to seeking out value-adding opportunities and spotting waste in the production process.
Knowing your customer means better customer relationships. Better relationships boost sales.
With Jobman’s CRM features and a continuous improvement program, your customers are sure to see value in what you do.
5. Build a proactive learning culture
The final benefit brings it all together. Because continuous improvement isn’t just a one-off, your customers need to see a steady increase in value over time.
By applying continuous improvement, you’re challenging your sales and service teams to listen more closely to customer feedback. That feedback is translated into a value-adding opportunity, the customer receives better service, rinse and repeat, and your business flourishes.
Jobman: an ERP for continuous improvement
Jobman provides all the data, insight and analytics you need to recognise the improvement potential in your business. Right across the production process, Jobman has features designed to improve manufacturing methods.
Discover the benefits of an all-in-one ERP system today and improve your business tomorrow.