The Roadrunner. The Coyote. Therein lies an endless battle of wits involving Do-It Yourself Tornado Kits, Rocket-Powered Roller Skates, and the obligatory anvil from Acme Inc. Yet, even as a child, I couldn’t understand Wile E. Coyote’s determination to catch the Roadrunner with the seemingly infinite amount of flawed Acme products that ultimately ended in, some might say, epic failures. Moreover, how could Acme continuously pump out gadgetry that resulted in less than perfect outcomes?
To me, it seems that Acme should have taken a stab at the concept of Rapid Continuous Improvement (RCI). The RCI philosophy is an ongoing effort to drive beneficial change along the lines of processes, products, and services by making them more efficient and effective. Here at HON, we employ the RCI philosophy with a multitude of programs. While some are focused on internal processes, many are developed to reduce waste, lower cost, and benefit the customer.
Through the RCI system, we’ve implemented thousands of improvements and you might have seen some of them. Have you ever visited the HON Ready Portal? That, in itself, was a concept developed through the continuous improvement philosophy. Ever located an instruction sheet on the Portal for that chair you just bought? A Customer Support member thought of that idea.
How can you employ the same type of continual improvement at your workplace? Simple: Analyze, Plan, Implement, and Evaluate.
Analyze – What needs to be improved? If your product is flawed (i.e. your rocket powered roller skates explode mid-skate), identify the root cause of the problem. If it’s a matter of inefficient processes, get creative. Don’t be afraid to suggest something new- that’s how great ideas are born.
Plan – Once you’ve determined the problem, visualize the solution. How will it work? Who is involved with its implementation and who is going to be held accountable for the changes? How long will it take to roll out? Map it out! But preferably, draw a better map than Mr. Coyote.
Implement – After you’ve mapped it out and determined the course of action, put it into practice! Sell the benefits to the people affected by the change. Remember, you may not see the results immediately, but don’t get discouraged.
Evaluate – Ask for input from the people who’ve been affected by the change. Have you seen benefits from the new practice? Measure results and gauge the effectiveness of the new approach.
Now that you have the system, try putting it into practice. There’s a world of improvements waiting on the other side of that painted tunnel on a rock! Perhaps if Acme would have taken the RCI philosophy to heart, Mr. Coyote would have gotten the Roadrunner. We shall never know…