I learned the importance of continuous improvement early in my career. The first company that I joined after college was a division of a multi-billion dollar company with decades of success. After a few years, I noticed that the company seemed to be satisfied with its position in the market with little focus on making things better. A few years later, the division was sold to a large competitor and the plant that once employed 1500+ people was closed within 18 months of the sale.
About one year ago, I was interested in finding new employment and I wanted to make sure that I found a company that had a successful past, but also a company that was passionate about continuous improvement to secure a bright future. I was very fortunate to connect with Famous. During the interviewing process, Marc Blaushild invited me to attend a leadership meeting as a guest. During this meeting and subsequent interviews, I learned about many improvement activities underway at Famous, such as private label products, multi-family projects, digital strategy, inventory management, and many more. The enthusiasm for these initiatives was very impressive and helped me realize that Famous is a company that is truly relentless about continuous improvement.
After joining Famous, I have observed many examples of this fundamental in action. The recent activity to identify and develop specific actions for inventory that has not sold in 2 years and the great response and support that has been provided to help with the clean-up of the CDC (Central Distribution Center) operations are two good examples. In both cases, the associates involved have demonstrated a strong focus on taking action to improve the situation. Also, our focus on the 40 Fundamentals is another great example of continuous improvement. Each week we are reminded of the areas that can be improved to enhance our effectiveness when interacting with customers, suppliers, and each other and to achieve better results for our customers and Famous.
The end of the year is a great time for reflection and for establishing goals for improvement for the coming year. The article below is a good summary of the benefit of continuous improvement for our personal life and as Famous associates (JamesClear.com).
Happy New Year and best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2018.
Let’s define continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is a dedication to making small changes and improvements every day, with the expectation that those small improvements will add up to something significant.
The typical approach to self-improvement is to set a large goal, then try to take big leaps in order to accomplish the goal in as little time as possible. While this may sound good in theory, it often ends in burnout, frustration, and failure. Instead, we should focus on continuous improvement by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal everyday habits and behaviors.
It is so easy to dismiss the value of making slightly better decisions on a daily basis. There is one thing about it though: it works.
So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.
Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.
In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. (In other words, it won’t impact you very much today.) But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.
Here’s the punchline:
If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.
This is why small choices don’t make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.