The Continuous Improvement process is an ongoing process to improve processes
within an organization. It is called continuous because the processes are continuously
evaluated and improved to increase their efficiency or effectiveness. The most
commonly used system to support continuous improvement is the PDCA Cycle (Plan,
Do, Check, and Act) or Deming cycle. Many types of information or documentation
support continuous improvement. Some of them are listed below:
Process Documentation - The first step to continuous improvement is to evaluate
any process which needs to be improved. This is one of the most important
document as it details the entire process flow and creates a standardized
process. This is important since without defining the process and the steps
involved in the process, areas of improvement cannot be ascertained. Hence, it
helps in selecting the improvement opportunity which you want to focus on.
Benchmarking - Benchmarking is another important document in continuous
improvement. Benchmarking is a process of comparing the current business
processes to the industry standards. This helps in determining areas of
improvement based on how to compare with other organizations.
Control charts - Control charts provide information on how the process varies
over time due to special causes of variations. This helps in identifying if the
current process which we are looking to improve has variations within the control
limits or if there are any special cause causing the variation. This is important as
a process with variation due to special causes is not fit for the improvement
process. The process first must be in control for any improvement technique to
work on it.
These are the three types of information or documentation that support continuous
improvement in any organization.