What Is Continual Improvement? - Definition & Process

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  • 0:00 Definition of…
  • 0:30 Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle
  • 1:51 Example of Continual…
  • 2:33 Management Philosophy
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dr. Douglas Hawks

Douglas has two master's degrees (MPA & MBA) and is currently working on his PhD in Higher Education Administration.

Quality management is all about making things better through identifying improvement opportunities and striving towards a stated goal. Learn the definition of continual improvement, how it can be applied, and why it is so important to use.

Definition of Continual Improvement

If improvement is defined as making a change that results in a better outcome, then continual improvement is simply always identifying and making changes that result in better outcomes. Continual improvement is a concept that is central to quality management theories and programs. In fact, the ISO9001 framework for quality management suggests that continual improvement should be a permanent objective of the organization.

Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle

W. Edwards Deming, considered by many to be the father of quality improvement, worked with Japanese automobile manufacturers in the mid-20th century on quality management techniques that helped them become known for the excellence of their work. As part of that work, Deming introduced the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle, or PDCA, of continual improvement.

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