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CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT (CI) - Page 1

V. Ryan 2007

 

Companies and businesses around the world operate in a competitive marketplace. For example the Car Manufacturing Industry. Companies such as Ford, Peugeot, BMW and Toyota are competing directly against each other. In order to ensure their survival it is essential that they continually improve their products and customer service. This process is called ‘Continuous Improvement’.

The aim of companies operating a Continuous Improvement system is to improve their manufacturing system, their product and to create opportunities for further improvement.

 
   

IMPROVING THE MANUFACTURING SYSTEM

   

This is usually achieved by improving the efficiency of the production line. One way of doing this is by reducing waste. Waste materials can be recycled and used again or sold as scrap rather than being thrown away.

Quality Assurance will ensure that the entire manufacturing system is more efficient and that time is not wasted. (See Quality Assurance sheet).

IMPROVING MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY  
   

A company continually improving its manufacturing efficiency will invest in new up to date technology. An example is seen below. This is a laser cutter which cuts materials extremely accurately and quickly. Companies that invest in this type of hi-tech equipment will be more efficient than their competitors. Although machines like this can be expensive the efficiency improvements to a production line makes it worthwhile. The laser cutter seen below is being used by a company manufacturing boomerangs. The laser cutter makes it possible for boomerangs to be manufactured to high accuracy and at speed.

 
   
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEYS
   

Companies must always ask their customers for feedback. Feedback means asking the customer what they like about the product and how they think it could be improved. Customers are very important to any company selling products. Without customers the product will fail to sell. Listening to the needs of customers is a high priority to any company aiming to continuously improve.

IMPROVING THE RELATIONSHIP WITH SUPPLIERS
   

Forming a good relationship with the suppliers of raw materials and components for the manufacture of a product is another important factor in the Continuous Improvement Strategy.

Suppliers are more likely to act swiftly to enquiries and to supply materials and components if communication between a company and supplier is professional and pleasant. A company that pays its suppliers bills quickly are always going to get a better service from the supplier than one that pays late.

     
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