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74 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2021 Feature by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 Process improvement is a never-ending endeavor for all companies; however, the dif- ference is the pace at which a company pursues this idea. Some make it a proactive culture, others take a reactive approach, and there's a group somewhere in the middle. When you compare the types, the proactive cul- ture typically outperforms the others in all key metrics in the long run. Continuous improve- ment drives out waste i n y o u r p r o c e s s e s , streamlines workflow, and gives you a com- petitive advantage. So why do some live and breathe it—and some don't? at has to be answered indi- vidually. As a customer, when you deal with a sup- plier that is dedicated to cont inuou s improvement , you feel the benefits; when you deal with a supplier that doesn't have that mindset, you feel that as well. One is smooth and pleasant and the other can result in disap- pointment. A Designated Role Because continuous improvement is a daily task, the question is: Who is responsible for it? Look at the list of titles in your company and you will typically see CEO, VP, sales, account- ing, manufacturing, and so on. e one that you rarely see is chief process improvement manager (CPIM), yet this may be the most essential position in your company. It may be hard for some to justify the added expense, but once you realize improvements, you will see the CPIM could be worth their weight in gold. Oen in smaller organizations, you will see the leadership take on the role of CPIM, along with their other tasks. In large companies, this role may expand into a process improvement depart- ment. Overall, the role of your CPIM is to examine, do c- ument , and work to improve all your p r o c e s s e s . T h i s includes your busi- ness processes as well as your manufactur- ing processes. As they do this, they will then begin to challenge the current pro- cesses by asking, "Why do we do it the way we do it?" Oen, the answer is, "Because we've always done that way." Why is one of the most important questions they can ask: Why are deliveries late? Why do we have scrap? Why do we do this step? Why do we use this tool? Why do we have a bottleneck? Why is work in progress at a standstill in the hallway? By asking why, the status quo is chal- lenged, and improvement begins. Do You Have a CPIM?

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