Starting with Continuous Improvement

People who are satisfied with the way things are can never achieve improvement or progress. Indeed, the first step in improvement is dissatisfaction with the status quo; it means always asking why productivity can’t be increased, why stocks are necessary, or whether there aren’t better ways to do things.

It is a universal truth that those who are not dissatisfied will never make any progress. Yet even if one feels dissatisfaction, it must not be diverted into complaining; it must be actively linked to improvement. In this sense, we can say that dissatisfaction is the mother of improvement.

When you walk through a production workshop, workers will never call out to tell me about waste or to raise questions about inefficient operations. If we keep quiet and walked through the shop, we will conclude that there were no problems at all. Obviously, this would be no good. Rather than zipping through the shop floor like a sightseer, looking only at the surface of things, it is better to spend an hour or even half an hour observing a machine that is thought to have no problems. If you have the attitude that there probably are some problems, you will inevitably find some. To accept the likelihood of problems is a challenge but adopting this perspective will allow you to outpace ordinary companies.

Eliminate waste! Is a common slogan in many lean practicing companies, yet most are not able to  find much of what we imagine as waste lying around in the workplace. Unfortunately, real waste lurks in forms that do not look like waste. Only through careful observation and goal orientation can waste be identified. We must always keep in mind that the greatest waste is waste we don’t’ see.