Sustainable Improvement is the pathway to the future


The famous Benjamin Franklin said that without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success, have no meaning.

I want to add to that and say that Sustainable Improvement is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth.

Improvements in general and sustainable improvements in particular are problematic areas and in Business, improvements come only from one (or any combination) of the following three aspects:

1. Technical improvements – such as new technology or automation.

2. Process improvements – covering aspects such as quick change-overs, modapts/work study, waste elimination and many more techniques.

3. Attitude improvements – such as motivational leadership and teamwork.

Finding the optimal combination of these three aspects lies at the heart of any improvement program. One can seldomly concentrate on only one (or even only two) of the three approaches.

The ODI programs by design concentrate on the skills and mechanisms to implement process and attitude improvements and are some of the best in their class as confirmed over 20 years in many successful implementations.

The pillars of the 20 Keys Wheel acknowledge and emphasize these three legs of improvements:

Key 20 – Brings in Technological Improvements as a pillar key.

Key 1 – Cleaning and Organising is the platform from which most of the Process Improvement Keys (Key 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; etc) are to be launched.

Keys 2 and 3 – Goal Alignment and Small Group Activities are pillar keys to ensure a solid Attitude Improvement approach – at top management level through to the work floor level.

As we approach the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, businesses will have to focus more to implement all three improvement legs – perhaps simultaneously or staged in phases. Without bringing in the next level of Technical Improvements, even the best work done on Process and Attitude Improvements will be sub-
optimal. Management has a duty to ensure a synchronised approach on all three improvement  legs for the next decade of sustainable operation.

Author: Roland Röhrs : Chairman of ODI Board