Learn to develop a detailed understanding of the complexities of the continual improvement concept, and to become skilled in its application.

Recommended learning hours: 50

Unit aim: To develop a detailed understanding of the complexities of the continual improvement concept, and to become skilled in its application through planning, implementing and maintaining the concepts in an organisation.

Assessment type: Assignment

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand continual improvement and its application to business
  2. Understand the process for identifiying and prioritising areas for improvement
  3. Be able to manage an improvement project.

Every successful candidate can at the end of this unit:

  1. Explain the principle of continual improvement and its application in various types of organization
  2. Evaluate the benefits an organisation and its stakeholders may gain by applying continuous improvement
  3. Evaluate the cost benefits of use of continual improvement
  4. Apply methods to identify and prioritise opportunities for improvement
  5. Use suitable and appropriate tools to perform root cause analysis
  6. Prepare management reports on the impact of continual improvement activities
  7. Prepare an improvement plan
  8. Describe key roles required for the management of improvement projects and the desirable characteristics of those selected
  9. Evaluate an improvement project
  10. Explain the common reasons why project teams sometimes fail.

Indicative content:

  • The principles and benefits
    • Examples/case studies of quality related costs in a range of industries
    • Prioritising projects for quality improvement from information on the cost of poor quality (COPQ)
    • Dr Taguchi’s Quadratic Loss Function
    • Juran’s trilogy.
  • The improvement process
    • Juran ‘Breakthrough’, Six Sigma process improvement and process design processes, automotive 8D
    • Application of a range of problem solving tools to suit the problem encountered.
  • Managing improvement projects
    • Establishing terms of reference
    • Selection of methods for data analysis
    • Selection of methods for establishing causes of problems inherent in a process
    • Selection and verification of remedies
    • Preparation for project results presentations
    • Graphical presentation aids such as PowerPoint, flip charts, models and data
    • Graphical presentation tools including line graphs, frequency distributions, Pareto diagrams, pie charts, scatter diagrams
    • Implementation of results
    • Stages of a project
    • Project planning
    • Project reviews
    • Standards for project management
  • Lean process improvement concepts
    • Lean concepts for process improvement
  • Managing business improvement
    • Support organisation for the continual business performance improvement process including the role of Quality Councils and Steering committees
    • The role of upper management middle management and the workforce
    • Mandated and voluntary improvement teams and the suggestion scheme concept
    • Preparation, publicity, personnel selection, facilitation, monitoring and support for the improvement initiative.