In this article, we’ll discuss when to shout about your continuous improvement programme. I once saw an organisation publicly advertising their continuous improvement programme with the ambition of rolling out advisory services to other organisations. Unfortunately, publicly displayed comments from their customers regarding this event indicated that their customers hadn’t felt or seen these improvements. I can only assume that this organisation’s improvements hadn’t trickled down to the customer yet, or their improvements were not customer touching processes.
This got me thinking, when is the best time to shout about your continuous improvement programme?
Net Promotor Score
Research has shown that if your Net Promoter Score is higher than your competitors, you will likely click here outperform the market. It has also shown that doing activities that will improve NPS will also improve your business performance. If you’ve seen significant improvement to your NPS score as a direct result of your improvement activities, then this could be a good time to shout about your continuous improvement programme.
If you’ve been working on improvement projects to enhance the customer journey and you’ve got data and feedback from customers to say these improvements have positively impacted their experience, then this could be a good time to shout about your continuous improvement programme, especially if customers become advocates of your brand.
It’s important to note that if you’re still experiencing a high volume of complaints then you might want to address these first. Don’t confuse high sales data with great service. If your organisation is in an industry with high barriers to entry but is a needed service, then your customers may only have a choice between a few organisations. In this case, they might be purchasing from you as they have little option.
From Failure to Flagship
Many business units or facilities embark on their continuous improvement journey when under pressure to do so, also known as a “burning bridge”. If you’re facility is now the flagship facility after your continuous improvement efforts, especially if it was once the lowest performing then this is also a good time to shout about your continuous improvement programme.
Hitting Industry KPIs
Organisations in the same industry will have similar KPIs. If your organisations has significantly improved KPIs or become the industry leader, then now could be a good time to go public with your continuous improvement programme. For example, you might be a distribution company that has the lowest damaged parcels as a result of your continuous improvement efforts. Inviting potential clients to visit your operations and show them what you’ve achieved could help win new business.
When not to go public about your continuous improvement programme
I highly recommend that you don’t embark on a continuous improvement programme just to be able to say you have a continuous improvement programme. Such an activity would be doomed to fail both internally and externally. A continuous improvement programme is about a positive culture change that requires a strategy directed from the senior management team. If your continuous improvement programme isn’t achieving any of the above then it’s probably best to keep working away. Now you may have achieved some fantastic results from your continuous improvement efforts that have delivered for internal customers. However, unless the external customer has felt these improvements they’re not seen as value-added according to them. Remember, your customers wants can be broken down into three areas: quality, cost and delivery.
What are the benefits of shouting about your improvement programme?
There’s a big difference between informing people that you have a continuous improvement programme and shouting about your continuous improvement programme. The latter would include open days to other organisations and the public, offering advice to others, attending events to talk etc.
The benefits of making people aware of your continuous improvement programme include:
- Stronger tenders, which means an increased chance of winning more business
- Attracting top talent, as people want to work for a company that listens to their ideas
- Greater brand awareness, as you shout about what you’re doing
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