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Creating a Continuous Improvement Culture in a Decentralized Company

Posted By Jeff Moad, March 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM, in Category: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce

In a meeting of the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Operational Excellence Group today, one member described in some detail how his company has successfully adopted standard processes, tools, and metrics for initiating and sustaining continuous improvement initiatives. The standards, which are applied companywide, consistently align CI programs with strategic objectives,identify expected financial outcomes and identify the individuals and teams that will be responsible for achieving those outcomes. The standards also dictate the tools and training that will be used to support continuous improvement.

This highly coordinated, top-down approach has worked for this company, which is able to identify and achieve tens of millions of dollars in annual savings.

But, asked some call participants, what about companies whose cultures are highly decentralized? Is it possible or advisable to try to get different business units in such decentralized organizations to accept a highly standardized approach to continuous improvement?

It's a good question. Managers and teams in decentralized organizations often value their autonomy to the point of suspecting any attempt at standardization.

Have you had success attempting to implement common CI processes in decentralized organizations? If so, what works?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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