The Role of Technology in Continuous Improvement

In an article on this topic in Industry Week today, Ralph Keller asserts that Continuous Improvement is focused on business processes rather than technology.

However, if you wrap tinfoil around the feet of a welding fixture to make it easier to clean, replace bolts with clamps on a machine to reduce setup time, or mount a hand tool on the machine on which it is used, it usually counts as Continuous Improvement but involves technical changes to work that I don’t think anyone would describe as business processes.

Yes, Continuous Improvement is done without expensive technology, but it does involve cheap technology.

Ralph Keller also reminds us that Continuous Improvement is not “rocket science,” which implies that it is easier. I agree that it is different, but not easier. I don’t know any rocket scientist with the skills to facilitate Continuous Improvement.