Executives Using Continuous Improvement to Drive Growth

By Adi Gaskell – Head of Online at the Process Excellence Network

With growth throughout the economy at a premium at the moment, executives are leaving no stone unturned in the hunt to return to the black.  Industry Week reports that increasingly, this means turning to the concept of continuous improvement.

They base their opinion on the findings of the latest research conducted by TBM Consulting and Industry Week.  The research found that companies that have strong process improvement philosophies significantly outperform those companies that do not.  This improvement was shown across three key financial metrics:

  1. They saw higher revenue growth in the past year
  2. They achieved higher operating income growth
  3. Their cash flow was better

General Cable are a fitting example of the results possible.  In an interview they revealed that their lean six sigma efforts powered global growth at the company that saw them expand from 18 factories in just three countries, to 47 factories in 25 countries.

“We’ve got an army of change agents who think about lean as a natural instinct as opposed to, ‘Oh it’s time to think about lean.’ Making the company better continually has allowed us to really get through some tough times.”  said Gregory Kenny, General Cable’s president and chief executive officer.

Barriers to process improvement

A recent survey of over 700 process improvement professionals has found that the biggest barrier to good process improvement is poor employee engagement, with a lack of collaboration between departments a close second.

This underlines the fact that process improvement should focus on the human element rather than simply buying the latest tools available on the market.

Too many C-level executives still misunderstand how continuous-improvement strategies can drive growth. Make sure you’re not one of them.

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