BS 8624:2019 Continual improvement: Methods for quantification

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4 years ago

What is this standard about?

“Continual improvement” is a fundamental concept within the ISO High-Level Structure and has been intrinsic to management system standards for many years – but it’s never been well defined. This new British Standard was developed to close that gap by providing authoritative guidance on continual improvement and how to quantify it.

Who is this standard for?

It’s relevant to all industries, especially healthcare, construction and manufacturing and to organisations of every type and size. In particular, it will be used by:

  • Quality managers
  • Project managers
  • Programme managers
  • Senior management
  • Why should you use this standard?

BS 8624 describes requirements for continual improvement and gives methods and examples of recognised techniques.

It provides authoritative guidance on the meaning and nature of continual improvement and supplies standard methods for its quantification, to be used within organisations’ management systems.

The standard links to PDCA and DMAIC and also discusses the organisational context and performing and managing continual improvement. It provides a common framework for continual improvement that can be applied in future standards’ development.

It’s the first authoritative reference on continual improvement across standards and will support the use of management system standards in all areas, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 31000. It also underpins the use of ISO 18404 for Lean and Six Sigma implementation, as well as the guidance standard ISO 13053.

NOTE: Models are not definitive but offer a framework for CI projects, showing how improvement can be reported accurately to interested parties.

The role of the BS 8624:2019 Standard?

The role of the standard is to describe the nature, concepts and types of continual improvement, as well as its position within a management system and the expected outputs and outcomes.

It defines the meaning of continual improvement, helping to communicate it more effectively to user groups.

It also describes the characteristics of an effective organisational culture where continual improvement occurs naturally.

It provides a common framework for all management system standards to be applied to continual improvement projects.

How does this standard support current standards?

The standard links to PDCA and DMAIC and discusses the organisational context. It also gives several useful examples of standard methods for continual improvement:

Continuous Improvement Model (CIM) is often used in conjunction with this standard and was developed specifically to help improve the way CI is considered in BS 7799.

The Continual Improvement Cycle is a fundamental requirement in BS 8541:2018, helping companies to improve their management systems in a structured way.

What does this standard do?

  • It describes the nature and concepts of continual improvement.
  • It shows how to quantify it and the outputs expected from projects.
  • It defines the meaning of continual improvement and the characteristics of an effective organisational culture where it occurs.
  • It provides authoritative guidance about the management of continual improvement.

How does it do this?

  • It groups CI into three broad categories, then links to method descriptions for each.
  • It employs several standard models based on cycles and Cycles of Improvement.
  • It identifies various conditions influencing CI that are required to allow organisations to see the value of CI. These conditions are further categorised into Business and Organizational Conditions, Technical Conditions, and Soft Factors Conditions.

What is its structure like?

The Standard separates its requirement into three main parts: CI, in context and CI models, plus a supplementary role, and Illustrative Examples of Continual Improvement.

It provides detailed requirements in an Overview, then guides a separate Structure and Contents.

How does this link to current standards?

Using this standard with PDCA and DMAIC is encouraged and it links to ISO 55001 and ISO 18404 as well as other management system standards developed by British and European standards committees.

It also links to ISO 13053, the guidance standard on CI implementation.

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