The Continuous Improvement Conference—The Event That Never Stops Giving
This article is contributed by guest writer, John Compton, Principle, Compton & Associates, and long-time supporter of the Continuous Improvement Conference.
"In my 40 years of attending and presenting at a variety of conferences, I’ve yet to find a conference where the openness and sharing equals that which occurs at the CI Conference."
It’s no surprise to me that we are preparing to hold the 25th annual Continuous Improvement Conference. Why the longevity? It’s simple: the people and companies attending over the years have greatly benefitted from the learning and sharing that occur every year at this conference.
No Secrets among Friends
From the beginning, the purpose of the conference was to provide a venue for people to learn about quality improvement and share their experiences in applying emerging concepts and tools within the printing industry. In fact, in my 40 years of attending and presenting at a variety of conferences, I’ve yet to find a conference where the openness equals that which occurs at the CI Conference. In the various case studies offered each year, companies voluntarily present methods and techniques they use to significantly improve quality and reduce costs and lead time, often with direct competitors sitting in the audience. Then they entertain specific questions on how they achieved their improvements and offer specific answers. It’s safe to say there are no secrets at this conference!
Will Work for Quality
How can this happen when there is so much competition in our industry? Again, I think the answer is quite simple: while there are no secrets on how to achieve a more rapid rate of improvement, it’s clear that it’s not easy to do. (There is a valuable CI knowledge quiz if you want to find your knowledge gaps.) Whether it’s total quality, six sigma, ISO 9000, Lean manufacturing, or any of the other approaches, it’s hard work. And like anything that’s hard, you must have a reason to sweat for it. The print companies presenting their case studies at this conference detail just how hard it is to achieve and sustain improvement in lead times, waste reduction, and operating costs. So while the concepts, methods, and results are laid out for attendees to see, each company must provide its own energy, desire, and resources for a successful CI journey. In short, each must have a good reason to sweat for it. Without it, the methods produce limited, short-term results.