The advantages & disadvantages of continuous improvement

Written by lindsay pietroluongo
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The advantages & disadvantages of continuous improvement
Continuous improvement focuses on team work. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Continuous improvement is a term that's most often used in the business world. It refers to a company that tries to always be improving its services or products. The company may want to slowly improve in small ways, or it may seek a large improvement that will make a great impact all at once.

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Acknowledgement of Problems

A company that believes in continuous improvement is constantly seeking ways to make its services, products, staff and marketing even better than they already are. These companies are open to suggestions and turn criticism into constructive criticism. They are aware of their setbacks and problems, and instead of staying stagnant or refusing to believe that there's nothing wrong, they view it as an opportunity to improve.

Worker Confidence

Continuous improvement shows workers that their work actually means something to the company. Employees are taught to improve their performance, which in turn motivates them. Also, employees are expected to work together as a team in order to come up with new ideas for the company. Even negative work serves a purpose -- to show the business where its problems lie and to strive to make things better moving forward.


Continuous improvement methods often lead to great success for the company that utilises this philosophy. It's extremely rare that any type of business will be booming overnight. Instead, successful business endeavours take time and patience to grow and succeed. A solid foundation and plenty of hard work will build a thriving business, and a large part of that is recognising the areas that need improvement and actually making the changes. Continuous improvement both recognises and acts on developing and bettering business. Also, companies that listen to and respond to customer feedback are trusted by clients -- they feel that they are heard and that the business will actually implement change.


While continuous improvement is, overall, a great way for a company to operate, this business strategy does come with its own set of disadvantages as well. Training employees to work in a continuous improvement environment takes time and money, on top of the time that's already spent training new employees to perform their main job functions. This can make the starting out process for any new employee lengthy and tedious. Also, companies that are always seeking ways to improve run the risk of changing parts of their business that are actually working well. Not all negative feedback from employees and customers is going to be accurate and truly what's best for the company.

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