Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the homebuilding industry as well as construction engineer, site manager and in training, auditing and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental and safety management awards for clients.

Denis is co-author of 'The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence'.

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A high level, 7 step process for improvement

Where to start with trying to address improvement. Here is a high level approach.

  1. Identify the area for improvement
  2. Establish your current metrics on that area and map the current process
  3. Locate the industry or world best practice in that area
  4. Adapt those best practices for your organization which includes creating a new process and aligning the current and new benchmark metrics
  5. Develop the infrastructure to implement (flowcharts, procedures, checklists etc)
  6. Roll out and monitor the process and results i.e. how the new metrics compare to best practice benchmark metrics
  7. Exceed the best practice process and metrics, you become the holder of the new best practice approach

In terms of the micro detail of how to create improvement below are some approaches that may help you think out of the box and rigorously consider the key areas in which to find improvement opportunities.

List of improvement leverage points:

Six Sigma & Lean improvement approaches:

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