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Continual improvement- definition and application

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by John C. Abnet, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Good day QFO team. I am reaching out to gain perspective from you.
    Having spent many years working with the Japanese and within Japanese quality culture culture, it became evident that true kaizen (continual improvement) is more of a culture than a "thing" as we try to identify it outside of Japan. Indeed, in Japanese culture, continual improvement would NEVER be considered same/similar to corrective action (i.e. response to a nonconformance), but instead is a strategic or organic approach to make better that which is NOT broken. ISO 9000:2015 note 1, however, states to the contrary, "...and generally leads to corrective action..."

    What say all of you in regards to "continual improvement" and the demarcation between it and corrective action?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with the premise that only once a process is shown to be in control can improvement be considered. Sadly, for less mature organizations, anything which considers non-conformity > corrective actions, to me "improvement". Somehow I think some folks on TC 176 don't fully understand, and I also realize some organizations aren't that sophisticated...
     
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  3. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Coming from you @Andy Nichols , I suddenly feel affirmed. Thanks
     
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  4. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    I believe it's the other way around. Corrective actions generally leads to continual improvement.
     
  5. Leonid

    Leonid Well-Known Member

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    if not eliminated, nonconformity decreases value and worsens performance.
    Corrective action adds value and improves performance.
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Not always. It depends on the nature of the non-conformity! When we simply use "titles" or "grades" to form opinions, we do a disservice to what is often a positive.
     
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  7. pkfraser

    pkfraser Member

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    Ah ha - a "Note" in 9000/9001 which doesn't add value... Surely this hasn't happened before!

    At best, a corrective or preventive action will seek to maintain the status quo. As Andy suggests, TC176 is short of common sense. Why they think that there is "a process" which not only establishes objectives but also finds opportunities for improvement I can't imagine. You can find opportunities for improvement in any number of processes (eg lessons learned at the end of a contract), most of which are far removed from setting objectives. Continual improvement is more of a mindset as John hints at.
     
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  8. Leonid

    Leonid Well-Known Member

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    TC 176 did not make a hint about existence of a "process" which establishes objectives and finds opportunities for improvement.
     
  9. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily consistent with my original post, but while we're on the subject, there are indeed distinct and unique requirements for...
    1- establishing objectives
    2- continuous improvement

    Consider this:
    a) An organization has OTD delivery objective established at 95%. (objective established)
    b) OTD has been averaging 96.2% for the last three quarters. (objective met/exceeded)
    c) The organization establishes a continual improvement plan to increase OTD to 98% (kaizen)

    The Japanese often visualize this as a never ending set of stair steps. Reach a step (objective) THEN make a plan to reach the next step. (Continual improvement) which becomes the next objective BECAUSE the previous step (objective) was reached. The CI is the PLAN.


    As you can see, continual improvement is to do BETTER than current performance WHEN that current performance is already meeting/exceeding the established objectives.

    Hope this helps.

    Be well.
     
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  10. pkfraser

    pkfraser Member

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    Leonid
    "The process of establishing objectives and finding opportunities for improvement is a continual process..." I am afraid that 9000/9001 now call almost everything "a process" when all they need to say is that something needs to be done.
     
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  11. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Not quite @tony s
    See my subsequent comments/example above in the post ....John C. Abnet, Today at 10:25 AM

    Hope this helps.

    Be well.
     
  12. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Of course, not every improvement comes from corrective actions. I'm just saying that "corrective actions generally lead to continual improvement" - not "continual improvement comes from corrective actions".
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  13. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Isn't "necessity the mother of invention"? Requirements beget conformity and nonconformity. Conformity begets constancy. Nonconformity begets corrective action. Corrective action begets continual improvement.
     

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