Continuous Improvement in the Workplace

Posted Posted by Dave in FabSuite Thoughts, Uncategorized     Comments Comments Off

Our goal should always be aimed at being better than we were yesterday. To be smarter, wiser, more experienced, better read, more insightful – the goal is to continually grow and improve in a specific way. Some people have a “Word of the Day” calendar to teach them a new word each day. Some people watch the news to keep up on the happenings from around the globe. Others read to grow their vocabulary and exposure about a certain topic. Whatever the method, the goal is to out-do ourselves from the day before.

As an active fitness enthusiast, I struggle with the challenge of besting myself the day, week, or month prior. My actions are structured with the intent to continuously improve that specific activity. My goal is to increase my strength, endurance, quickness, and overall fitness/health from my last session. My goal is not to merely “maintain” my current level, but to surpass my past efforts and performance. If we are not moving forward, we are falling behind.

It is impossible (and frustrating) to get better at EVERYTHING- the trick, is to get better at SOMETHING. Many of those that I am closest with in life are doing just that – they are getting better in a specific area. One person is going back to school for an MBA, another is starting a blog to practice her creative writing skills, another is taking weekend seminars about a work-related topic, and yet another is attempting to learn another language (Spanish). These individuals are using their most valued attribute, their time, to get better than they were the day, week, or month prior. Just as in our personal lives, the need to continuously improve is a central theme of successful businesses.

Continuous improvement, in a management context, means a never-ending effort to expose and eliminate root causes of problems/waste. Usually, it involves many incremental or small-step improvements, rather than one overwhelming innovation. Continuous improvement is a philosophy, permeating the Japanese culture, which seeks to improve all factors related to the transformation process (converting inputs into outputs) on an ongoing basis. It involves everyone, management and labor, in finding and eliminating waste in machinery, labor, materials and production methods.

How does the idea of Continuous Improvement play out at your place of business? What problems/waste can you eliminate? Take a good look at your business, and identify the small-step improvements that would eliminate and reduce problems/waste. Don’t fall into the trap of being “comfortable”. Just because you have done things a certain way in the past, does not mean it is ideal. If you catch yourself saying, “If its not broke, then don’t fix it” or “That’s just how we do things around here,” then you might need to evaluate your process. Remember, the goal is to be better than the day before…!

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FabSuite Modules

Estimating Estimating

Gives you the accuracy and efficiency your company needs to stay competitive and profitable in today's market. Takes the tedious recapitulation activities out of the estimator's hands and does them automatically.

Project Management Project Management

Provides complete traceability of important job and project information. Create Drawing Logs, Transmittals, RFI’s and organize job specifications for quick and easy reference.

Production Control Production Control

Handle bill of material for jobs and track jobs through the entire fabrication process in your shop easily and effectively. Provides you with unrivaled control over every item in the job.

Combining Combining

Efficiently optimizes materials from your existing inventory, or from a personally customizable "Warehouse" or "Mill" database. Mult and nest large material lists to price, quote, or buy.

Inventory Control Inventory Control

Keep track of all the items in your inventory by the job number, using the standard steel nomenclature.

Purchasing Purchasing

Combine requisition items, email your requests for quotes to vendors, and easily create purchase orders that will be automatically linked to your inventory.

Order Entry Order Entry

Gives the service center or retailers a system for tracking the sale in-house. Work up a quick quote for a client on the phone or over the counter.

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