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Last year, we launched Spigit for Continuous Improvement, which enabled companies to get more out of their Continuous Improvement (CI) program by tapping into the collective intelligence of their employee base.

Prior to the launch, we conducted an in-depth survey of 2,600 CI practitioners to uncover intel such as the methods they use and how they were using CI in their companies.

This article outlines some of the insights that came from the survey.

Let’s dig in.

Lean is the top Continuous Improvement method

When it came to which method practitioners use to drive CI success most often, the Lean method topped the list, followed by Kaizen and Six Sigma.

Some of the methods that are more frequently used also include Design Thinking, TQM, Agile, DMAIC, Theory of Constraints, and Lean Supply Chain. In many cases, practitioners use multiple methods to drive success.

Other methods that were shared, but not used as frequently, include:

  • TeamSTEPPS
  • Innovation
  • Project Management, Business Intelligence
  • PMBOK
  • System for Daily Improvement
  • Management consulting

CI Methods

Improving operation efficiencies is the number one use case

Surprisingly, when it came to what practitioners use CI for, nearly 90% of the respondents use the various methods to identify opportunities to increase operational efficiency with an emphasis on cost reductions.

70% of the respondents said they’re also looking to solve for customer experience in an effort to increase customer retention rate. This isn’t surprising due to the fact that getting customer experience right in today’s hyper connected world is crucial to a business’s long-term success.

Interestingly, a smaller percentage of companies are using CI to develop and refine new products – less than 30% in this case.

Employee engagement also made the list with 54% of respondents saying their CI programs also act as employee engagement tools.

Rounding out the rest of the results: 33% of practitioners said they’re looking to decreasing product time to market, and 39% are using their CI programs to accelerate sales and growth.

CI use cases

Central departments hold the reigns

When we dug into who actually manages a company’s CI program, 64% of respondents said a central department is in charge of the operations and funding.

Interestingly, “CI as a Service” – where business units go to an internal team to run projects but are responsible for the funding – made the list, albeit with only 7% of respondents using this management style.

Ci Management

Who do CI practitioners report to?

Based on the data we collected, CI practitioners report to a variety of people within their companies. There is no one definitive person in charge that’s consistent across all organizations.

Surprisingly, 50% of respondents selected “other” as their answer and included titles such as President, VP of Engineering, and CFO.

What’s interesting is that more practitioners report to an operations lead rather than a CIO or head of IT, which correlates with the number one use case for CI according to the Spigit survey: operational efficiency.

CI Reporting

Final thoughts

The results from Spigit’s CI survey were intriguing.

Some of the results were expected, while others were surprising.

While there are numerous methods available, there’s no one size fits all. What it comes down to is your unique company and the resources that are available.

If there’s one takeaway from the survey it’s this: there’s more than one way to achieve CI success.

Spigit for CI