The business improvement strategy refers to the vision, goals and set of phases or milestones that will enable an organization to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage by addressing inefficiencies, waste, asset, and people productivity, and culture within the process and its stakeholders. The strategy should not only take focus on achieving the goals to boost the business's bottom line but also to engage and empower employees in the continuous improvement program which eventually set a positive culture toward continuous improvement.
The business improvement strategy and plan should not just a bunch of separate activities, but rather an integrated approach where each activity interlinks with the other activities to achieve the synergistic outcome of world-class performance.
Our improvement framework which is derived from TPM & Lean principles recognizes the critical role of finding and rectifying problems at the earliest possible time through the engagement of the entire workforce. This framework minimizes operational risk by engaging and developing the skills of the frontline workforce (operators and maintainers) so that they can identify equipment, process and quality problems at the earliest possible time and ensure their prompt rectification. This would not only lead to a more stable operation but most importantly maximizes asset productivity and capacity, minimizes costs and creates a safer workplace.
To be successful in implementing the business improvement framework, we need to have a clear and effective strategy that would also be flexible enough to ensure that the following key issues for the implementation are adequately addressed:
How do we get senior management to actually understand business improvement methodology rather than think they understand;
How do we get all employees to contribute and participate in business improvement program;
How do we ensure the program is integrated into existing improvement initiatives; and
How do we ensure the company develops the in-house capability to sustain business improvement program.
The business improvement strategy should be built based on the four key phases:
Awareness & Preparation Phase, providing initial education and the development of an introduction strategy.
Demonstration & Learning Phase, the introduction of the pilot improvement under the supervision of an expert in improvement methodology to gain a successful impact on the performance.
Assessment & Planning Phase, development of a site-wide implementation plan based on the learnings.
Site-Wide Implementation Phase, cascading of business improvement program throughout the organization.
Figure : The four key phases for successful business improvement implementation