Building an Effective Industry CPI Program

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is a results-oriented goal of most industries and businesses anywhere in the world. Through implementation of an effective CPI program, an organization can become more profitable and more competitive. But all the sophisticated systems and programs such as Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, CMMI, Lean, and many other company-based programs, achieve minimal results if they don't incorporate a closed-ended system for implementing and evaluating process effectiveness. Also, the challenge with most CPI programs is that the results are not consistently and continually applied. This article identifies the sequence of activities necessary to develop and implement a baseline that features these three pillars: Business Process Management, Occupational Safety and Health Analysis, and Skills Development-Based Training.

Establish the first pillar: Business Process Management Analysis (BPMA).

Document the approach for baselining each set of activities (process) to perform, develop, or produce the product or service that your organization delivers to your customers. Consider including process objectives and requirements as well as a workflow diagram of the process. Identify inputs (tools, equipment, materials, personnel and their roles, products, and references – everything that is consumed, used without consumption or referenced in the process). Identify outputs (products and/or services produced in the process). Determine the level of effort it should take to perform process activities. Manage the time in an activity-based work schedule using project management software. Track and report on variables that impact costs, schedule, and quality of performing each process you baseline. Identify process inefficiencies, road blocks, and results of troubleshooting activities. At the end of each business cycle or production cycle, review the information collected during the baselining process. Identify trends in the data and determine what variables need replacing or how much they need adjusting. Convene an interdisciplinary change management group to decide if process changes are warranted, what should be changed and who should make the changes. Monitor and document the effectiveness of the change and ensure that all documentation is updated, including workflow diagrams and procedure details.

Establish the second pillar: Occupational Safety and Health Analysis (OSHA).

Identify the quality of interactions among and between people, materials, and agents within the defined work environment. Ensure that all employees are appropriately protected from harmful exposures to hazardous chemicals through hazardous chemical substitutions or elimination, through engineering controls, wear of appropriate personal protective equipment, and administrative controls to limit the time of exposure potential. Determine how materials are used or consumed in the process, and how to prevent them from becoming the source of occupational safety and health injuries and illnesses. Inventory and monitor the use and storage of hazardous chemicals and materials to prevent them from becoming human and facility liabilities. Ensure that the work environment is appropriately monitored in accordance with environment and health compliance regulations. Reference the need for, and outcomes of, the OSH analysis in the business process baseline.

Establish the third pillar: Skills Development-Based Training (SDBT).

As part of the BPM baseline, knowledge, skills, and attitudes should be documented by process role for each process activity. By applying the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation (ADDIE) training development model, provide applicable SDBT instruction to ensure that process objectives and requirements are carried out. The success of training should be measured using direct observation methods, post-training surveys, and post-training tests. The Return On-Investment should be calculated to identify training inefficiencies or other problems.