Sustainable Growth:

Efficiency Improvement

Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF)

Continuously Improving on Customer Value Due to Improvements in Productivity and Quality






"Achieving good performance is a journey – not a destination."

  More Continuous Improvement Quotes



The Three Basic Principles of Continuous Improvement

  1. Challenge

  2. Kaizen

  3. Go and See... More

Effective Kaizen Implementation: 7 Conditions Kaizen. Effective Kaizen Implementation: 3 Principles. No-blame Culture, See the Big Picture, Consider the Process

8 Best Practices of Successful Companies

  • Use techniques (like "process mapping" and "benchmarking") to achieve continuous improvement... More

Main Subjects for Suggestions in Japanese Companies

  • Improvements in machines and processes... More

Kaizen and Kaikaku

  • Kaizen is evolutionary, focused on incremental improvements.

  • Kaikaku is revolutionary, focused on radical improvements

10 Kaikaku Commandments

Quick and Easy Kaizen

3 Guiding Principles

  • The smaller ideas, the better. Kaizen is small ideas. Innovation takes time and is costly to implement, but kaizen is just day-to-day small improvements that when added together represent both enormous savings for the company and enormous self-esteem for the worker... More

Successful Implementation of Kaizen Strategy

7 Conditions

The Toyota Way

14 Principles

5 Strategies for Creating a Culture of Questioning

  • Improve: Establish a mentality that everything can and should be improved and encourage people to ask “How?” questions... More



Arguments for Adopting the Incrementalist Perspective

  1. The future is unknown and unknowable

  2. External forces are too powerful to be controlled by organizations or their managers

  3. Managers cannot enforce adherence to their plans



Continuous Improvement – the Main Source of Growth for:

  • Industries that reached the market and technological maturity; low rates of market expansion or only replacement demand encourages these firms to restrict innovation to incremental improvements in the same core technology.

  • Organizations that cannot pursue more aggressive venture strategies as they have to follow some restricting bureaucratic rules and regulations.

Smart Business Architect

CIF and Total Quality Management (TQM) – two different perspectives of the same phenomenon

  • The CIF Perspective – the organization itself in all its integrity, full-blown, operating and practicing the total quality management (TQM) approaches

  • The TQM Perspective – the beliefs and practices required of management to bring about and perpetuate a continuous improvement firm (CIF)

CIF versus Mass Production (MP) firm




Strategic advantage

Large volume of homogenous output

Production flexibility


Narrow specialization


Output based on

Forecasted demand

Real demand

Productivity success factors

Quality of management; its ability to plan and to direct the implementation of those plans

The ability of the entire work force, not just management, to constantly improve both the product and the processes whereby it is produced

Barriers to Successful CIF



Toyota's 10 Management Principles

Toyota Production System (TPS)

How To Lead Creative People

By: Max DePree

Google: 10 Golden Rules

  • Encourage creativity. One of our not-so-secret weapons is our ideas mailing list: a companywide suggestion box where people can post ideas ranging from parking procedures to the next killer app. The software allows for everyone to comment on and rate ideas, permitting the best ideas to percolate to the top... More

18 Leadership Lessons from Colin Powell

  • The most important question in performance evaluation becomes not "How well did you perform your job since the last time we met?" but "How much did you change it?".... More

Kaizen Mindset

  • Not a single day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere in the company... More

Balanced Organization: 5 Basic Elements

Performance Management (Water):

What is Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF)?

CIF is a firm continuously improving on customer value due to improvements in productivity initiated by the members of the general work force.

Productivity in CIF is broadly defined to include all facets of product quality as well as output per worker. A basic operating principle of the CIF is that improvements in product quality often produce simultaneous reductions in costs.

The key success factor in this endogenous, incremental and continuous technological and operational change is the organization and management of the firm in such a way that all members are motivated to promote change and are supported in their effort to do so. What is remarkable about the CIF is its ability to operate simultaneously in all innovation areas: strategy, new products, new technology, new organizational forms, and new customer relationship management... More

3 Strategies of Market Leaders

 Case in Point  Canon: Eliminating 9 Wastes

The objectives of Canon Production System (CPS) are to manufacture better quality products at lower cost and deliver them faster.

Canon invited all their employees to suggest ideas for improvement and developed 6 Guidelines for the Suggestion System to make it most effective.  The company developed also a list of 9 wastes to help their employees become problem-conscious, move from operational improvement to systems improvement, and recognize the need for self-development... More

 Case in Point  14 TQM Slogans at Pentel

Pentel is a Japanese firm manufacturing stationary products. The following is a list of 14 Pentel's slogans for explaining Total Quality Management (TQM) and Quick and Easy Kaizen philosophy to its employees.

  • Be problem-conscious at all times... More

Areas Targeted by TQM in Japan

Create a Process-managed Enterprise

Enterprise-wide business process management "integrates everyone and everything once; thereafter, process design, transformation and experience take place freely and continuously, not as a series of infrequent, long-winded, piecemeal and distracting "integration projects" for each new process design. In this way, participants truly learn about the process and the side effects of change on the business."9... More

CIF versus Mass Production (MP) Firms

The ultimate competitive goal of the CIF is the ability to produce consumer goods on a custom basis for immediate delivery at costs lower than those featured by standard MP firms.

The key to achieving this flexibility and lower costs lies in the generalization of the work force.


Kaizen means "improvement". Kaizen strategy calls for never-ending efforts for improvement involving everyone in the organization – managers and workers alike... More

Quick and Easy Kaizen

Quick and Easy Kaizen helps eliminate or reduce wastes, promotes personal growth of employees and the company, provides guidance for employees, and serves as a barometer of leadership. Each kaizen may be small, but the cumulative effect is tremendous.

The quick and easy kaizen process works as follows:

  1. The employee notices a problem or an opportunity for improvement... More

Three Stages of the Suggestion System

1. Encouragement. In the first stage, management should make every effort to help the workers provide suggestions, no matter how primitive, for the betterment of the worker's job and the workshop. This will help the workers look at the way they are doing their jobs... More

STRIDES Problem Solving Model

The STRIDES model was developed by the Quality Support Council of Fidelity Investments. This problem solving model provides employees in every part of the corporation with a common language and process for implementing Kaizen – a strategy of continuous improvement. As stated in Fidelity's Models for Quality Improvement, STRIDES is the approach to use "where the problem is more complex."... More

Eliminating Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy makes work and creates climate in which the customer comes third – well after the management and the company's other employees.

How much of your energy is expended on purely internal activities? if you spend less than 20% of your energy on external customers, than bureaucracy has taken hold... More

Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma

Lean manufacturing, supplemented by Six Sigma principles, can help your company attain the goal of continuous improvement – but only when embraced as a core corporate philosophy and rooted in the corporate culture. Management slogans often boil down to little more than platitudes in slick consultancy packaging. But some corporate lingo stands for more than a passing fad.10 "Lean manufacturing", a shorthand for a commitment to eliminating waste, simplifying procedures and speeding up production, is one such concept.

Six Sigma, the quality-assurance principles that are often integrated with lean production and  enterprise-wide process management efforts, is another. The principles and techniques that the two terms encompass deliver impressive bottom-line results in industrial manufacturing.

Lean Enterprise: 13 Tips


The 5S Program defines the steps that are used to make all work spaces efficient and productive, help people share work stations, reduce time looking for needed tools and improve the work environment... More

TPS-Lean Six Sigma

TPS-Lean Six Sigma is like a ‘turbo-charged’ Lean Six Sigma program.

TPS-Lean Six Sigma is a revolutionary, holistic concept. It actively has human capital embedded in Lean Six Sigma in a manner that not only stimulates commitment, integrity, work-life balance, passion, enjoyment at work and employee engagement but also stimulates individual and team learning in order to develop a motivated workforce and sustainable performance improvement and quality enhancement for the organization... More

8 Rules for Quality Management

Be the Best Possible

10 Tips by Ten3 NZ Ltd.

  • Good enough seldom is.  Organisations that are continually productive and profitable incessantly strive for quality and excellence.  Acknowledging that your customers are not prepared to accept an attitude of "that's good enough," how does your organisation's quality standards rate as against its competitors?  How do your own personal levels of excellence and quality rate against your current and potential competitors in the employment market?  If you don't know the answer/s to these questions, then resolve to find them out immediately.  The longer you delay, the larger the gap may be growing between you and your competition!... More



 Discover much more in the


Key Features of the CIF...

Eight Best Practices of Successful Companies...

Continuous Improvement as a Mindset...

Three Questions To Be Systematically Asked by Everyone in CIF...

Process-managed Enterprise...

BPMS: Business Process Management System...

Process Thinking...

Systems Thinking...

Systematic Thinking...

Get Employees Involved...

Leverage Your Service-Profit Chain...

Reward System...

Importance of Proper Motivation...

Inspiring People...

Energizing People...

Use 80/20 Analysis to Pinpoint Improvement Areas...

Real Time Business Development...

Incremental Innovation vs. Radical Innovation...

Idea Management...

Letting the Best Idea Win...

 Case Study  Dell Computer Corporation...

 Case Study   "Great Game of Business"...

 Case Study  Toyota...

 Case Study  GE Work-Out...

 Case Study

 Case Study   Avis...

 Case Study   Fun4Biz...








  1. "Competitive Manufacturing Management", John M. Nicholas

  2. "The 80/20 Principle", Richard Koch

  3. "Wholesale Changes", Carol Casper

  4. "The Basics of Leadership", Merlin Ricklefs

  5. "Six Sigma", Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder

  6. "Direct from Dell", Michael Dell with Catherine Fredman

  7. "TQM - Creating a Continuously Improving Organisation", W.E. Cole and J.W. Mogab

  8. "Making a Difference", Bruce Nixon

  9. "Business Process Management", Howard Smith and Peter Fingar

  10. "The Lean Journey," White Paper by Oracle Corporation, 2004

  11. "Beyond Process Maturity to Process Competence," Andrew Spanyi

  12. Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success, Masaaki Imai

  13. "Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management," Masaaki Imai

  14. Kaizen, 25 PowerPoint slides by Factory Strategies Group LLC

  15. "Lean Manufacturing That Works", Bill Carreira

  16. "Toyota Production System," Taiichi Ohno

  17. Getting Employees Involved: 9 Ways, Bernie Sander

  18. Lean Manufacturing Overview, 42 PowerPoint slides by Factory Strategies Group LLC