Continuous Improvement


What is Continuous Improvement?

Continuous Improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, people and processes to provide excellence and added value for the customer.

Continuous Improvement at Stateside Foods uses two proven techniques – Lean and Six Sigma.

Lean Manufacturing

The core idea is to maximise customer value while minimising waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.

A lean organisation understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.

To accomplish this, lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimising separate technologies, assets, and vertical departments to optimising the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma uses the rigorous problem solving DMAIC methodology to root out and eliminate the causes of defects – in short Six Sigma looks at the variation in a process and looks to decrease variation.

Many of our management teams and functional specialists are trained in the use of the structured DMAIC approach for use in the delivery of business improvement projects. We employ project sponsors for every agreed project, and have a rigorous review and tracking process to ensure we both maximise and sustain the benefits of every improvement idea.

Use DMAIC and data collection to drive the Improvement

D – Define a problem or improvement opportunity.

M – Measure current process performance.

A – Analyze the process to determine the root causes of poor performance; determine whether the process can be improved or should be redesigned.

I – Improve the process by attacking root causes.

C – Control the improved process to hold the gains.

The Stateside Foods Way

The key aim of any good continuous improvement programme is to involve everyone in making small improvements within their workplace – this is a key component of “The Stateside Way”, our internal Continuous Improvement programme.

We educate our teams in World Class Manufacturing techniques, and invite them through a series of highly interactive workshops, to generate improvement initiatives for their workplace, in an environment that promotes teamwork and collaboration in agreeing the priorities and measures for each team.

Our teams have taken the classroom theory into the workplace and begun daily team meetings to review performance and drive further improvements in their work area. These short meetings are conducted at the team board in the department at the start of each shift. Team members are encouraged to highlight problems/issues, and then complete simple problem solving to identify the ‘root cause’. These are reviewed at the team board so the improvement activities are visible to all the shift teams and management.


FOCUS IN is an acronym (or play on words) with each of the letters representing key performance measures for the team.

F- First for Quality

O- Organised Workplace (5S)

C- Cost (or waste)

U- Utilisation (or performance)

S- Safety

IN- Involvement

FOCUS IN is a strategy for the business in all major departments, to have FOCUS IN boards that allow us to analyse performance, focus our efforts, and improve the business operation.

Daily reviews at the FOCUS IN boards are held at shift handovers to discuss the performance against agreed set targets. Issues that are recurring are highlighted, and this begins a process of problem solving. The team takes the initiative to find the correct root cause of their problem. This is proving to be very successful in improving workplace procedures and has been embraced by the workforce.

Continuous Improvement so far at Stateside Foods

  • Senior Management have been trained in the tools and techniques
  • Senior Team and functional specialists to deliver improvement projects based on the training
  • Internal Continuous Improvement Programme developed – “The Stateside Way”
  • Approx. 430 people trained across the business in “The Stateside Way”
  • Visual Management KPI boards installed across the sites

What’s next for Continuous Improvement at Stateside Foods?

  • Continue “The Stateside Way” journey through workshops and teaching days
  • Senior Team to work and engage with their teams to deliver improvement projects
  • Further development of internal training activities
  • Make C.I a way of working life not just a project