Continuous Improvement LO19791

J.C. Lelie (
Tue, 10 Nov 1998 23:42:25 -0800

Replying to LO19771 --

Hello Koebelin,

Some years ago i constructed a kind of systems thinking model on
continuous improvement processes in logistical, noteably production,
enviroments. In this model communicating, confiding, committing and
co-operating (called the 4C-model (tm)) are positively coupled. Further
more every-one of these inter-personal processes are coupled to a so
called system-parameter and a system observable. The first one is needed
to explain the behaviour of the (MRP-II or ERP) system, the second one can
be observed by any observer, whether participant, supplier or customer of
the logistical system. Everybosy will agree on the correct value of an
observable, something that can not be said of a system parameter (also
called variable, because it varies!-D), let alone the quality (or
quantity) of a process like communicating (there is a lot of talking going

In this way i was able to define a continuous improvement project in terms
of increased inventory turn-overs (Throughput (=number or item SOLD times
price) divided by Inventory (=number of items in store times price)) or
TOR. This definition can be used on every level of a production
organisation, a work cell, a production line, a production floor, a
factory or a network of factories (aka supply chain).

What has this to do with communication? Well, communicating, in my
experience, in a logistical setting, is or should be about priorities.
Priorities are about customer orders (goods SOLD) on, somebody remembers
Goldratt?, on bottle necks. Now the capacity of a bottle neck is a systems
parameter. So the loop looks like this: better communicating leads to
better prioritizing leads to more Throughput across the botlle neck and
thus the network. Higher Troughput, in its turn, leads to better

So a "new" definition of continuous improvement is: increasing TOR. I once
led a continuous improvement project called JIT/TQM with the goal to
double the TOR within two years. After about one and a half year that goal
was reached and the organisation was able to go on continuously improving
om its own, very rapidly. Using the 4C-model (tm) one can foresee this

If you're interested, drop me a line.

Take care,

Jan Lelie

koebelin wrote:

> I am a graduate student in Adult and Organizational Learning at Suffolk
> University in Boston, and I am writing a paper on the above topic. I am
> really seeking a "new" definition of continuous improvement that does not
> solely involve improvements to the manufacturing process, but rather the
> organization as a whole.

Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (Jan)       
LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development -
Mind@Work - est. 1998 - Methodware for consensing - 
+ (31)70 3243475 Fax: idem  - GSM: + (31)654685114

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