Monitoring Supports Continuous Improvement

It’s a common problem. Companies launch a LEAN improvement initiative, make progress, and then backslide. A year or two later they may be in a worse position than when they started the project. The problem, though, isn’t with LEAN. It’s with the sporadic nature of initiatives.

Achieving continuous improvement takes continuous effort. That means making improvements daily.

Continuous improvement begins with a broad vision, but is achieved by making small, incremental advances over time. For example, the broad vision may be to reach 99 percent damage-free delivery, but the first step is to determine the current damage rate and then to identify what goes wrong. Then develop a list of challenges and how they may be resolved. Address each issue, one at a time, and solve it before proceeding to the next challenge. That straightforward, incremental approach focuses efforts and helps link improvements to specific changes.

Data monitoring and analysis can play a big part in fostering continuous improvement throughout the supply chain. A broad program of monitoring and analysis not only identifies what happens to individual shipments, but also helps uncover patterns among hundreds or thousands of shipments. Root causes analyses based upon this real-world data helps you drill down, determining, for example, whether one type of packaging is better than another or whether one transfer location has problems. Therefore, you can deploy the best strategies more widely and fix those that have problems, ensuring the steady improvement of your supply chain.

To learn more about how monitoring can help you continually improve your supply chain, contact ShockWatch.