Continuous Improvement is the application of engineering to business operations with a focus on small incremental improvements to help an organization work towards achieving large breakthrough goals in alight with a strategic vision.
The roots of CI started with the practice of Industrial Engineering in automotive manufacturing. The moving assembly line created low cost and high volume capacity led to Mass Production.
The Training Within Industry program developed by the United States Department of War during World War II provided a framework to analyze operations and standardize work that was brought to Japan after the end of the war.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Corporation used the TWI program to develop a more flexible production system that engaged the front line workforce and built a corporation that worked on just in time delivery with exceptional quality and reliability.
In the 1990's a study of the Japanese automotive manufacturing created a Lean Manufacturing revolution that popularized the tools and techniques used in the Toyota Production System.
General Electric and Motorola integrated Lean Manufacturing tools with statistical process control to develop the practices of Six Sigma.
The tools and methodologies of Toyota Production System, Lean, and Six Sigma have been practiced in all industries to drive considerable productivity gains and flexibility.