What is Continuous Improvement? Unlike other process improvement and quality management models, Continuous Improvement is not a project, event or one-time process. It is a way of doing business that focuses on constant efforts to improve product or service quality to meet customer requirements and strategic business objectives. Rather than focusing on large process re-design projects, Continuous Improvement focuses on making incremental improvements in a process with the goal of increasing value to the customer.
A process exists to meet customer requirements, and those needs drive Continuous Improvement. Identifying, defining and balancing the various customer requirements are the aim of the process and the desired outcome is to meet or exceed those requirements. Simply stated, quality is defined by the customers.
Continuous Improvement uses a process approach. This approach assumes that all work is a process that can be described, studied and improved based on feedback and data. For example, cycle time measures the time required to complete a process and is a key indicator for process improvement.
An integral component of the process approach involves identifying problems or defects in the process, finding their source and then correcting them. Continuous Improvement often begins with identifying and resolving problems in the early steps of a process because there is a ripple or process-flow effect. Improvements in the early steps of a process have a positive effect on later steps in the process.
Air-Care’s commitment to quality is the driving principle behind continuous improvement. Air-Care is a Continuous Improvement focused business, committed to providing quality products and services in a timely, cost-effective way. In addition, it sees improvement as an ongoing process and not an end result. At Air-Care problems and mistakes are not punished, but embraced and used as opportunities for improvement.