Continuous Improvement Improvement

March 14, 2011

I was just talking with a friend of mine who was mentioning that a company he knows has a Continuous Improvement Department. Not uncommon for many companies today. That made me think about how companies perceive continuous improvement (CI). So let’s review the different names we have out there in the Lean world (for fun).

Kaizen Blitzsm

Kaizen translated from Japanese means continuous improvement. Blitz means a fast intensive nonmilitary campaign or attack (flash or lightning). So we take a Japanese word and a German word to try to get Americans to make improvements. Honestly, I don’t really hear this term that much anymore. No offense to my friends at AME.

RIE – Rapid Improvement Event

This is what you have to call it if you work for the government or military since you are not allowed to use foreign languages.

RCI – Rapid Continuous Improvement

There was a company that decided to call their Kaizen Events “Rapid Continuous Improvement” Events or RCIs. So what is rapid continuous improvement? If it is continuous, isn’t always supposed to be happening? So let’s review the definition of “rapid” and “continuous”. According to Merriam-Webster on-line edition I found these portions of the definition:

Rapid – marked by a fast rate of motion, activity, succession, or occurrence

Continuous – marked by uninterrupted extension in space, time, or sequence

So in my mind in order to have Rapid CI it appears that we would have to bend the time-space continuum so that it could be continuous and rapid.

O.k., back to C.I. If so many companies spend so much time talking about it I would like to add some new acronyms to the mix that may be a little bit more appropriate.

SI – Sporadic Improvement

The occasional improvement that management graciously allows us to perform when we get time to do it (which is close to never).

RSI – Rapid Sporadic Improvement

What we do right before one of our most important customer comes to visit or if there’s been a major melt-down in quality, cost or delivery.

SIwFB – Sporadic Improvement with Fall Back

This combines our phenomenal ability to periodically change things and then loose the gains until we are almost too where we started in the first place.

Feel free to add your own so we can continuously improve our continual improvement. – Tony

2 Responses to “Continuous Improvement Improvement”

  1. Pepijn Says:

    Hi Tony,

    I miss Eli Goldratt’s (TOC) POOGI – Process of Ongoing Improvement. That’s not directly related to Lean, but it IS related to Continuous Improvement!


  2. 5ssupplycom Says:

    That’s a great one. I think we could have some fun telling people “Let’s poogi.” – Tony

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: