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24 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2021 Feature by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Throughout 2021, I-Connect007 will focus on our theme, "X=X c – 1," in which we will ex- plore continuous improvement in a practical way. Get talking about continuous improve- ment as a business method and the conversa- tion often hinges around large programs and grand transformations. "Company culture" and "corporate transformation" are terms that often appear in these conversations. Often, it seems, continuous improvement is simply a huge undertaking. The good news is that not everyone sees con- tinuous improvement in this light. Continuous improvement methods can be scaled down; smaller, more manageable goals can be set. Continuous improvement can be implement- ed at a departmental level, team level, even an individual level. In their paper "How Contin- uous Improvement Can Build a Competitive Edge," McKinsey & Company authors Carolyn Dewar, Reed Doucette and Blair Epstein write, "Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve all elements of an organization— processes, tools, products, services, etc. Some- times those improvements are big, often they are small. But what's most important is they're frequent." [1] Maggie Millard writes in her blog, "Improve- ments are based on small changes, not only on major paradigm shifts or new inventions… By approaching change in small, incremental steps, the continuous improvement model re- duces the fear factor and increases speed to improvement." [2] Jon Terry writes, "Sacrificing quality can rarely be justified by the ability to do some- thing faster or cheaper. To maintain quality standards while cutting time and cost, compa- nies turn to Lean ways of working, including continuous improvement." [3] In fact, if your company is pursuing ISO9001 certification, continuous improvement is one of the eight key principles for ISO9001. Continuous improvement "is all about 'do- ing' but it isn't something that you do. It's how a company operates. Continuously im- proving means creating a culture that promoted 2021: The Year of X=X c – 1 This article first appeared in SMT Magazine, January 2021

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