Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A JOINT VENTURE WITH BDC Insight: Continuous improvement

  • Print

In a competitive world, excellence is more than an buzzword. It is essential for any business today, says Dwayne Dulmage, vice-president of financing and consulting for the Business Development Bank of Canada.

"Every company wants to innovate and find ways to become more productive" he says. "Peak operational efficiency occurs when the right combination of people, processes and technology come together to optimize business performance."

In the case of the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, hiring a master brewer from Japan resulted in the creation of a higher-quality product.

"Producing better when you are involved in the food and beverage industry may, in part, involve the intellectual property of someone who is very experienced," Dulmage says, "and this is an interesting example of internalizing expertise as a means to pursuing operational excellence."

He notes that for any business, the primary goals of any improvements are to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the business, grow the company and boost its market value.

Achieving excellence comes with a number of challenges. The first is to recognize the need for change.

"Many entrepreneurs, particularly those who are very creative, are somewhat proprietary about what they do and have done successfully for a number of years. They have trouble stepping back and recognizing what they don't know and accepting that they may need help."

But if they are open to change, the possibility of continuous improvement can make a huge difference both to business practices and to everyone involved in the company.

"Operational excellence is an inclusive culture that can feed on itself, a vision for the company that empowers everybody in it," Dulmage says. "The improvements become self-fulfilling. They come from within and people will constantly look at operations from an innovative mindset. When you have a healthy culture of continuous improvement, employers are constantly getting advice from employees."

In general, small steps may be more effective than attempts at sudden transformation, he says, although "a big bang" approach can work for companies that have neglected the need to change or for those faced with rapidly changing market conditions.

"The incremental approach to continuous improvement works best in most cases," says Dulmage. For example, small changes in the production line or updating management information systems can make a major difference to the efficiency of a company's operations.

"You don't have to do everything at once but you do have to improve continuously. Operational excellence is no longer a concept to consider abstractly. It is a necessity and businesses that delay embracing it do so at their own peril."

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 5, 2013 B5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

New Pornographers frontman says latest album is band's 'best'

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local-(Standup photo)- A wood duck swims through the water with fall refections in Kildonan Park Thursday afternoon.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Does Canada need a national inquiry into the disproportionately high number of missing and murdered aboriginal women?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google