At Bosch, questioning the status quo, ensuring the transparency of one’s own actions, listening attentively, and accepting and learning from feedback are integral parts of the “Continuous Improvement Process” (CIP). The process is based on the idea of continuous improvement and is decisive for forward-looking activities. At the “CIP Global Improvement Conference” that was held on the occasion of CIP’s 25th anniversary last June, it became clear that a willingness to change has become indispensable in a society that is moving more quickly and unpredictably than ever.
The flow of ideas
The Bosch production site in Charleston, South Carolina, has demonstrated how CIP works in practice. In order to develop as many ideas as possible, associates are invited to pin suggestions on how products, processes, or working conditions can be improved to the central team board. Following the Japanese “Kaizen” method, the proposal then passes through a process that ends with a suggestion for implementation within a maximum of 30 days. In Charleston, the transparency and the corresponding bonus system for new ideas have raised awareness among all associates for the need for continuous improvement.
The CIP network in Latin America also aims to improve results in a lasting manner. Twenty-two CIP coordinators from seven Bosch countries have joined forces to drive forward a culture of constant change and agility in the organization. The network informs about best practices and thus ensures systematic knowledge sharing between individual divisions and locations. In addition, the network has examined various work methods such as the scrum method that is common in software development, and offers associates training workshops. CIP will thus gradually evolve into a knowledge platform of sorts, whose members can network with one another and share knowledge independently.
Thanks to associates’ ideas for improvement,
Bosch saved some 150 Million Euros in 2016.
A similar platform was established on the company intranet to mark CIP’s 25th anniversary. For 25 weeks, the international CIP community shared best improvement practices from all over the world and Skype interviews in which Leaders across divisions, regions and hierarchies shared their understanding of CIP and the importance of continuous Improvement for Bosch. Associates actively exchanged ideas on the ways in which CIP is being practiced at the company, and provided an outlook about how to shape CIP practices in the future.