CIP (Continuous Improvement Process) sums up all measures that are suitable for improving products, services, processes and individual activities within a company. The aim is to influence the mind-set of the employees: They should constantly check where and how they could improve their work. CIP focuses on many small measures that can be realised quickly, rather than one large, lengthier project.
CIP originates from series production in the automotive industry and was significantly shaped by Toyota and the so-called Toyota Production System. Since the beginning of the 1990s, it has become widely spread in companies with Lean Management and Kaizen. This is because a company and its employees can only be successful if both are constantly improving.
Important features of the improvement process
Characteristics of continuous improvement are:
- Asking each and every employee to contribute to improvement themselves
- The many different measures, which can be implemented quickly and bureaucratically on a day-to-day basis
- For the CIP there are no restriction in terms of the application area: products, services, processes, activities, technology, and workplace - everything can be improved.
- For the CIP there is no end – there is always something that can be improved
- It does not matter how the improvement is accomplished, what matters is the effect, not the method
- Important are principles such as Sorting, Avoidance, cleanliness, tidiness, order, simplicity, standardisation as well as setting rules and adhering to them
Advantages if the implementation
CIP enables companies to react flexibly and quickly to changed market- and customer demands and thus increase their competitiveness. Employees also benefit from a well-designed CIP Management. A complete and transparent organisational structure including clear responsibilities enables employees to discover and unfold their slumbering potential. Thereby they can become more involved in the processes of the company and, tat the same time identify more strongly with them.
Possible areas of application:
There are many processes and activities in a company where CIP can be used. The most important areas are administration and production.
1. In the office
The desk and the filings system should tidied in such a way, that only necessary items are present. These items are positioned in a dedicated area in a defined order. Employees then do not have to search for them, which speeds up processes and fewer mistakes are made.
2. In production and assembly
In the production and assembly departments of a company, it is crucial that employees do not have long distances to cover and that tools and work objects are within direct reach. This should ease the motion processes for the employees. In order to ensure no mistakes occur during processing, all the tools and all necessary information must be perfectly coordinated.
The further development of the corporate culture and good leadership are important success factors of the CIP. Dealing with these topics nevertheless does require a comprehensive commitment of the Change Management. However, if a company carries out such adjustments, it will be able to meet the demands of constantly changing market, customer and at times legal requirements.