Using Continuous Improvement Processes to Fight the Pressures of Inflation

Over the past few years, inflation has been a painful reminder of our economic woes. For a myriad of reasons, these trends, combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy. Consumers are feeling the bite of prices, which have slowly eaten away at their budgets. The reality of the situation is demanding attention from the best and brightest in business to try and curb inflation through various approaches, including a rejuvenated approach to continuous improvement

To highlight the mindset of American consumers in this period of inflation, consider these statistics from a recent survey from Morning Consult:

  • 85% of respondents said rising inflation had impacted their shopping habits
  • 79% are seeking discounts
  • 68% are shopping at discount stores
  • 92% are concerned about grocery prices, 62% about apparel, and 56% about personal electronics

These numbers should be a wake-up call to large enterprises that the status quo is over, and they can no longer pass along rising costs to consumers, or they will face a significant financial impact, which would be intolerable.

Large enterprises are now closely refreshing their approaches to continuous improvement with new vigor. Leading executives are looking to processes, execution, and automation to ease the impact of costs across the board. This renewed sense of urgency demands a continuous improvement mindset from every level of the organization through increasing value, reducing waste, and improving productivity. 

With the continuous improvement mindset, another strategy for many companies is to adjust pricing. Some of these strategies include looking at local suppliers, shifting to private label supplies or goods, and aggressively re-evaluating existing supplier relationships. These fresh approaches require vigilance and a willingness to be more agile through short-term agreements.

For Lean Six Sigma professionals, this call to action from leadership should instill a new sense of urgency in their practice and vigor to reduce waste and increase value to consumers. Now is the time to refresh and look at all continuous improvement processes with a new eye. LSS leaders have the mandate to lead by example and inspire others in their respective organizations to embrace a continuous improvement mindset.


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