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22 SMT007 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 explore 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 implemented 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, incremen- tal steps, the continuous improvement model reduces 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 'doing' but it isn't something that you do. It's how a company operates. Continuously improving means creating a culture that pro- 2021: The Year of X = X c – 1

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