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Continuous Improvement

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Continuous Improvement

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Write a 3000 word paper explaining what continuous improvement means in the context of organisational success. Explain how the concept can and should be applied. Explain how it is possible to lead continuous improvement systems and processes and how opportunities for improvement can be managed to provide benefits for an organisation. Outline how you, as an organisation leader, would contribute to and implement continuous improvement initiatives.

What is Continuous Improvement?
Continuous improvement in a management context means a never-ending effort to expose and eliminate root causes of problems. 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 labour, in finding and eliminating waste in machinery, labour, materials and production methods.

The Japanese word for continuous improvement, kaizen, is often used interchangeably with the term continuous improvement. From the Japanese character kai, meaning change, and the character zen, meaning good, taken literally, it means improvement.

Organisational performance can improve from knowledge gained through experience. Lessons learned from mistakes mean those mistakes are less likely to be repeated, while successes encourage workers to try the same thing again or continue to try new things. While this learning process occurs throughout the system it is particularly important for accomplishing the long-term improvement associated with continuous improvement. In order for continuous improvement to be successful, the organisation must learn from past experience and translate this learning into improved performance.

Part of the learning process is trying new approaches, exploring new methods and testing...