October 31, 2017

WIL Recap: A Continuous Improvement Mindset

Last Thursday we had a great discussion at our Women in Leadership meeting as Alison WILGoodwin, Enterprise Strategy and Planning Manager at CHS and Jill Hillyer, Senior Process Improvement Analyst at CHS facilitated on the topic A Continuous Improvement Mindset. 

To kick off the meeting, Alison defined a continuous improvement mindset as excellence. Excellence, as stated in the slides, is the ultimate ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer. It is the gradual result of striving to do better, to be better.

Jill then asked what things have worked well and what can be improved within a continuous improvement program. Here are some key takeaways from the meeting regarding things that work well, and those that can be improved.

What is working well in your Continuous Improvement program?

  • Having strong leaders that drive IT
  • Support from CIOs
  • Champions group
  • SAP readiness
  • Each business unit having a different process, what works well for one business unit may not work well for another
  • Continuous improvement meets business transformation


What can be improved?

  • Champions, whether that involves them having mentors or someone to train them
  • Keeping things simple
  • Change management
  • Only having 4-5 different tools or methodologies
  • Taking the emotion out of it


Alison and Jill also provided the group a list of what you need to be successful in continuous improvement. They use the DMAIC method (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control). It important to measure your results, without these must-haves and following a DMAIC method, it is hard to make improvements.

Continuous Improvement Must-Haves

  • Relentless focus on the customer
  • Involve and equip the people doing the work in the process improvement
  • Undertake improvement activity in a systematic way
  • Identify and understand how the work gets done
  • Remove non-value-added steps and waste
  • Manage by fact and reduce variation
  • Measure results


What has been successful for your organization when it comes to continuous improvement? 


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Posted by: Anna Wischmann

Tags:  Meeting Recap, Women in Leadership Group

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