Beyond the fads and fashions of management theory, some things have stood the test of time. Pieces of exceptionally insightful knowledge, strokes of genius we might say, that have proven their worth in practice again and again.
Continual improvement is a timeless body of management knowledge that has coalesced and refined over the last century and it continues to evolve to this day. It started from an understanding of variation described by Walter Shewhart in the 1920s - one of those great ideas that look so very simple, almost inevitable, as soon as they come to light. W.E. Deming spotted it, and it became the cornerstone of his management philosophy and practice.
It so happened that Deming met with the perfect testing ground for his management ideas - Japan’s economy, a ruin in the aftermath of the Second World War. Deming was sent to Japan by the American government, to help with the post-war rebuilding effort. The community of business leaders in 1950s Japan listened to Deming and applied what he taught them. And, as if by magic, within a space of only a few years, Japanese exports took international markets by storm. From cheap and shoddy, as they had been formerly known, they came to epitomise quality and reliability. The knowledge that Deming has shared with the Japanese, and with all of us, has the power to transform organisations. It will take them, in just a few years, from inefficient providers of poor quality services and products, to star performers capable of commanding their staff’s loyalty and delighting customers.
That is if this knowledge is properly learnt and applied…
What can you and your organisation gain?
Continual improvement is not learnt in one day. And probably not from just one book either. In fact, the definitive book has not been written - how can it be? The knowledge is ever evolving. Deming notoriously kept enriching this system of knowledge to his dying day. What he has left us is a legacy of learning and the inspiring example of an inquisitive mind, furnished with sound principles and always open to the changing world around.
So we invite you to join us on a journey of learning and personal development. Guidance is available from experienced practitioners who believe passionately in this system of management and are generous in sharing their knowledge and experience.
Learning that continual improvement is applicable to your organisation and how to use it is not rocket science, yet it is not obvious until you have been there. However, once we begin to relate to organisations from the new mindset, usually there is no going back to the old ways, with managers and staff often testifying that their work and their lives are much the better for it.
The potential for increasing business efficiency is huge. Apart from a relatively small number of companies who found themselves in direct competition with Japanese manufacturers (e.g. car makers) and had to adopt the better management practices in order to survive, the rest of the management world is yet largely blind to the fact that there is a way of managing that can boost customer satisfaction and reduce costs at the same time.
Isn’t it time for things to change? Come and join us at one of the Alliance’s regular events, meet some of the long standing members and explore the benefits of becoming a member yourself. We will be delighted to welcome you.
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