A Greek philosopher once said, “Change is the only constant in life.”
The wisdom behind this old adage inspires us to adapt to the changing tides of life. It is by continuously improving — or changing our ways for the better — that we can achieve success both in business and in our personal lives.
Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. (BAVI) has long established Continuous Improvement as one of its core values. Our people are encouraged to always look for ways to improve our performance, our products and their quality, and our work processes.
Continuous improvement does not have a specific timeline and is not considered “added work”, but a persistent mindset and a way of life.
This was further emphasized when Investors in People (IiP) encouraged BAVI to institutionalize this through a set of criteria under one of its accreditation indicators, “Delivering Continuous Improvement.”
Through the years, our Continuous Improvement efforts have put BAVI at the top place in the industry. But this should not stop us from constantly improving and sustaining our company’s competitive edge. Continuous improvement does not have a specific timeline and is not considered “added work”, but a persistent mindset and a way of life.
Here are three practices that can further guide us in fostering a continuous improvement culture in our organization.
1. Learn from Others
Comparing our performance and processes against the best in the company and in local and global industries—or benchmarking—allows us to discover performance gaps and opportunities to improve.
In striving to be the best in what we do, we need to ask ourselves these questions: Why and how are others better? What can we learn from them? How can we catch up? How, then, can we become the best in our work and in the industry?
By properly identifying, understanding, and adapting best practices found within and outside our organization, we can continuously make improvements that transform and outperform.
2. Apply Small, Consistent Changes
When we think of improving our performance, it doesn’t always have to be in extensive or massive forms. While some improvements may entail considerable effort and resources, taking small steps towards the bigger goal produces more significant results over time.
Similar to this is the concept of making small, incremental improvements called Kaizen. It is a Japanese word for “change” (kai) and “good” (zen) — or simply “change for the better.”
It is a methodology that encourages all employees to look for solutions for everyday problems and quickly act on them. Kaizen involves ideas from simple to big, as long as it will provide comfort and efficiency to the employee and the organization as a whole.
3. Keep the “House” Well Maintained
One of the goals of continuous improvement is to establish an efficient system in the workplace. And orderliness is the foundation of an efficient system.
Therefore, it is important to maintain an organized and disciplined workplace. The 5S methodology, also known as “good housekeeping”, is used by different companies to promote orderliness, reduce waste, and optimize resources.
5S stands for Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. A 5S program promotes positive teamwork in the organization as it will require employee involvement and idea-sharing throughout its implementation.
Benchmarking, Kaizen, and 5S are some concepts that can help BAVI put a structure in its Continuous Improvement practices. They are the foundation of the iDeas-to-iMprove (i2i) Program, an initiative of the MCS Process Improvement – Compliance Support Center.
Since its launch in October 2020, the i2i Program has engaged a team of Kaizen Champions, a group of representatives from various departments in BAVI, who will lead the continuous improvement efforts in their respective areas. With the leadership of the Kaizen Champions, BAVI will open more opportunities towards a culture that nurtures ideas and focuses on continuous improvement.