Developing a CI Culture

Over the last 30 years much effort has been made by companies the world over to develop something called a continuous improvement culture, many in an attempt to copy the famous ethos apparent within many Japanese manufacturers, particularly the automotive OEM’s.

Increasingly, leaders are understanding that merely emulating the various tools and techniques and insisting upon everyone talking about the ‘gemba’ and ‘kaizen’ does not make a continuous improvement culture.

A continuous improvement culture must necessarily evolve through the adoption of a consistent set of aligned behaviours. Understanding which behaviours, and knowing how to encourage their evolution is key; this is the knowledge Applied Acumen share with our clients.

Furthermore, we have been able to develop unique technology to accelerate the adoption of the right behaviours and mind-set, giving our clients a powerful methodology to achieve a CI culture.


What is the nature of your CI technology?

Continuous Improvement feeds on the ambition and ability to spot opportunity, and we have developed a unique piece of analytical software that provides the ammunition operational leaders and CI managers hunger for.

Instead of undertaking laborious studies, and then persuading sufficient numbers of people with authority to act, and then persuading those with ability and capability to act to actually act, all whilst everyone is busy managing the day to day service to the customer…imagine being able to press a single button and out pops a simple report which pinpoints exactly what you ought to concentrate your efforts on and why.

Not only that, it gives you the exact product, which line, which shift, what parameters need to change, what the optimum parameters ought to be and when it has been done before, and exactly what it is worth to do it again!

This simple yet super powerful technology is here and is offered to all our clients. Please call for details.

What is wrong with saying “Gemba” and “Kaizen”?

Nothing. If you are in Japan.

The over use of Japanese phrases is often linked with consultants’ eagerness to demonstrate knowledge, but is less directly linked to actual knowledge. What it more typically betrays is a lack of understanding of the role values, motivations, history, and behaviours plays in the dynamics of engagement and in evolving a desired culture, and a blind adherence to dogma and a reluctance to adapt and modify the approach to achieve the right outcome.

In a post on the social network Linked In one (internal) consultant heralded with glee and satisfaction when an operator he had been coaching for over two years, ‘finally’ made reference to the ‘Gemba‘. His post was liked many dozens of times, shared and given many congratulatory comments.

It is with sadness and regret we feel that even after two years of trying, the operator failed to get the consultant to refer to his work area properly, in his native and familiar language: the ‘shop-floor’.

You seem pretty dismissive of others who promote the TPS approach?


This is not so much that the TPS is a poor system, but it is not something that any of our clients would pay money for. They rightly expect more from Applied Acumen, the least of which is a business operating system that has been developed specifically to optimise their business outcomes, not merely replicate someone else’s, and certainly not one that isn’t exactly suited.

This situation is exacerbated by instilling in those who advocate such approaches a sense of righteousness (of doing the right thing), vindicated by typical early success as operational plan-do-review focus yields quick improvement. In reality, such success is usually short lived, improvement tails off as attention wanes, and lack of progress is blamed upon antiquated IT, or people who ‘don’t get it’.

Moreover, and quite damagingly, ambition is curtailed as everyone, particularly those who have invested such effort and affiliation – egged on by the given need to be seen to be promoting and supporting any such initiatives not least for fear of being perceived as ‘not to get it’, find it difficult to accept a better approach exists.

We have CI managers – why do we need you?

A great question. Here’s another one: “we have managers, why do we need CI managers?”

In short, our technology can provide CI managers with the information they need to do their job much more efficiently.

In our CI programmes we seek to create CI manager characteristics in everyone, instilling the improvement behaviours in every individual to constitute the CI culture that each business aspires to. Our technology facilitates this, whilst our behaviours first approach underpins it.

Please call for further details.

Contact us for more information today on +44 (0) 20 3877 0618