Many manufacturers are now critically evaluating every activity and process for its effectiveness in bringing maximum value to the customer. Intuitive factory management techniques of yesterday are being replaced by much simpler, often counter‐intuitive, methods that greatly minimize delays, reduce costs, and improve quality. This body of knowledge and practice is broadly known as “world‐class manufacturing” or “lean manufacturing”, and encompasses well‐defined continuous improvement tools such as kaizen, cellular manufacturing, pull systems, total productive maintenance, and visual factory. However, success with lean manufacturng can be limited unless it is recognized that the behaviour of employees must change concurrently with changes in business processes. The author describes the applicability of well‐defined continuous improvement tools to the continuous improvement of one’s self. The model serves as a foundation for those familiar with world‐class manufacturing methods to focus on self‐improvement efforts. Further, this model is useful as a mnemonic device to simplify the difficult task of personal development, as well as ensure consistency between business processes and group or individual behaviour.
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