Introduction to Continuous Improvement

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Continuous improvement has been perceived as one of the most significant driving forces of the Japanese management achievement for more than four decades in the business world. It has been implemented as a business strategy and management philosophy in non-profit and for-profit organizations all over the world in an effort to increase long-run organizational performance.

Continuous improvement philosophy requires participation from all hierarchical levels of an organization and operates on a PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle. Improvement activities start by first identifying areas of need within an organization. In other words, improvement activities are designed and implemented only after recognition of the problem occurs.  Problems solved carry business processes to new standards, which is the starting point for the SDCA (Standardize-Do-Control-Act) cycle. In other words, solutions typically lead to the establishment of new standards.  Space payload projects can benefit from this approach also - PDCA and SDCA!

Continuous improvement philosophy has some major requirements and tools. Those requirements and tools will be detailed in this course.