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Being a continuous improvement engineer requires a person with innovative ideas, creative thinking and people skills. The fundamental purpose of this position is to consistently improve the functioning and overall efficiency of a business in all key areas. While the types of industry that a continuous improvement engineer works in can vary, the essential job duties are basically the same. These include recognizing problem areas, developing improvement plans, executing those plans, providing assistance for employees and analyzing results.
One of the most important parts of being a continuous improvement engineer is being able to recognize the problem areas of a business. This could include spotting inefficient worker habits, poor organization and ineffective company policies. Before he can make positive changes, he must have a clear idea of which areas need improvement and which ones are functioning efficiently. This requires sound business logic and a knack for optimizing the day-to-day functioning of a company.
After the problem areas have been identified, a continuous improvement engineer will develop some tangible improvement plans. In most cases, he will prioritize problem areas along a continuum from ones needing urgent change to ones that can be dealt with later on. From there, he will spend time brainstorming and interacting with department supervisors to discuss potential ideas. For example, he may want to alternate employee scheduling to extract the most productivity from each employee. Essentially, his goal is to maximize the output achieved from a certain level of input.
The next part of this job revolves around executing improvement plans. This is where a continuous improvement engineer takes his ideas from the drawing board and turns them into reality. For example, if the warehouse of a company is in disarray and unorganized, he might spend time reorganizing it to establish a layout where items are easier to reach. He might also install a new software program on a company's computers to make it easier for employees to access information.
To make the transition as smooth as possible, a continuous improvement engineer will usually provide assistance for employees. For example, he may develop a short training course to get everyone up to speed on company improvements. He might also create a test for each employee to take after course completion. This practice ensures that each employee understands the changes and makes the adjustment process easier.
Analyzing results is often an additional aspect of this position. To ensure that each improvement area is successful, a continuous improvement engineer will typically monitor the results. This might include comparing sales data from before and after or creating a customer satisfaction survey. Knowing this information can help him in future endeavors.