How Continuous Improvement drives digitalization
The continuous improvement process CIP is the engine of process innovation and organizational innovation. Traditionally realized by improvement processes or the idea management continuous improvement serves to keep processes lean and to ensure quality. But in the age of digitalization it is not only about the optimization of existing processes, but also about reinventing them to some extent.
Digital change enables new forms of collaboration. Rigid processes are replaced by approaches from agile project management. Continuous improvement is becoming more important than ever. In this article you will learn why.
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Continuous improvement becomes the responsibility of all divisions
Traditionally, the continuous improvement process CIP is a methodology used in production. Similar to approaches such as the Japanese Kaizen model, the aim is to continuously optimize production processes in order to make them more efficient, avoid production errors and improve quality.
In the age of digital transformation in companies, continuous improvement becomes the responsibility of all divisions. In order to gain agility and increase their ability to innovate, companies must continuously question the existing and adjust processes.
Continuous improvement is given a new role
The new technologies emerging from digital disruption present companies with great challenges on the one hand, and great opportunities on the other. Internal processes and procedures need to be radically rethought.
An example: The process for customer complaints. Traditionally, customers could call a company’s call center, send faxes, letters or e-mails to make complaints if they had problems with products or were not satisfied with a service.
The previous analogue process provided for complaints to be collected and assessed by a central department. Each individual case was decided in accordance with a prescribed procedure. This process can be digitized one-to-one and mapped in the form of workflows.
However, new technologies and digital change enable entirely new forms of exchange, such as building a customer community. In this, customers can ask questions or submit complaints as suggestions for improvement. A complaint becomes a customer idea.
Continuous improvement can become the driver of digitalization if analog processes are not simply digitized. But when companies actively exploit the opportunities offered by digital technologies.
Continuous improvement never stops
Digital processes and procedures are much easier to optimize than analog ones. In the past, new printed templates had to be used to change processes and workflows. Employees were extensively trained. Digital processes, on the other hand, can be changed with just a few clicks. A short introduction video into a new process or a short description, and a process is already adapted. The efficiency of processes can be constantly measured and compared with past data.
But because it is so simple, the competition for efficient processes and procedures becomes stronger: reducing costs and increasing quality become constant tasks. The cycles of change become shorter and shorter. Accordingly, it is important for companies to develop an innovation culture that promotes continuous improvement.
Innolytics® supports the continuous improvement process
The Innolytics® continuous improvement software helps companies to drive ongoing optimization in all areas. Employees discuss problems openly and transparently. They evaluate their relevance and develop ideas and suggested solutions. The integration of customers into the continuous improvement process is also an option. Especially when it comes to the development of new product features, customer co-creation is the method of choice. This can also be implemented using the Innolytics® software for continuous improvement and idea management software.
Digitalization makes the continuous improvement process more important than ever. But CIP must also reinvent itself in the age of digital transformation.