10 steps to help you choose the right CI journey partner

CI partner
Executive Summary
The right continuous improvement (CI) journey partner has deep technical expertise in a range of CI solutions. Their wealth of experience solving some of the toughest problems will help you succeed in your goals and create a sustainable improvement solution. However, choosing the right CI journey partner requires some planning and a clear vision that is shared within your organisation. Here are 10 steps to guide you when selecting this journey partner.


The right CI journey partner will guide and drive an accelerated continuous improvement process. Here are 10 steps to help you choose this partner:

Step 1: Define performance indicators

Define performance indicators and other value chain imperatives, and build them into the business improvement system. Share the sharply focused and easily imaginable vision so that the results can be measured effectively.

Step 2: Identify your requirements
  • Identify your administrative, integrative and technical requirements, as well as any other systems or processes that the improvement system will need to work with
  • Assess the range of languages and cultures that the system would need to accommodate — this will allow your organisation to replicate successful models in new markets or new sites across the globe
  • Check the defining characteristics of the system you’re considering — ensure you’ll get what you need today, and what you’ll want in the future
Step 3: Evaluate organisational ability

CI partner Evaluate your organisation’s ability to implement and sustain a CI culture. Your internal staff may have been trained in and may have applied various quality methods, but their focus is on the core competencies of your business. The right CI journey partner has skills, training and experience in a range of CI solutions. They’re not just familiar with CI; they’re masters at it. They solve the toughest problems, communicate effectively and provide appropriate training.

They’re not just familiar with CI; they’re masters at it. They solve the toughest problems, communicate effectively and provide appropriate training.

Step 4: Plan your timeline

Identify the steps you’ll want to take to get where you want to go. Remember, you aren’t ever ‘done’ with a CI journey; so build time to evolve, adapt and learn into your process and make it a part of all work.

Step 5: Assemble an executive team

Assemble an executive team to choose and manage the improvement solution. Get sign-off from all stakeholders on goals, requirements, capability building, etc. Make sure you avoid selection by committee. Instead, operations and the primary users of the solution, such as the supply chain functions, should drive the decision.

Step 6: Ask tough questions

Any CI journey partner contender must prove that they have what they say they have in terms of best practice integration across multiple platforms and long-term, sustainable performance.

Step 7: Talk to others

CI partner Now is the time to find out if your journey partner can actually make customers like you successful:

  • Ask the contenders for references and case studies — solicit others from your personal and social networks
  • Talk to the references and verify the case studies
  • Ask about technical and non-technical factors:
    • What were the quick wins after the implementation of short-term projects?
    • How much training and additional services were required?
    • To what extent were teams helped to deal with change?
Select the vendor that will allow you to succeed in attaining the goals you set at the start of the procurement process.
Step 8: Make a decision

This is the most critical step. Select the vendor that will allow you to succeed in attaining the goals you set at the start of the procurement process. The main objective here is to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the organisation. Be thorough in your investigation; seek input from all stakeholders and then make a unified decision.

Step 9: Get started

You should already have a thorough understanding of how to get started, based on your initial review of the potential CI journey partners.

Step 10: Review, optimise and improve
  • Invest in requisite training and resources
  • Build internal capability to ensure that your improvement solution is built for the long term — ‘the way we do work’
  • Do a review after three to six months and consider re-engaging with your CI journey partner’s services
  • Engage with your journey partner’s best practice community to learn and share best practices — suggest ideas for new features or functionality enhancements
  • Celebrate the early wins

One of the primary constraints on the ability to design a perfect CI system in any operating environment has always been the challenge of understanding what customers value, the ultimate ‘north star’. But new technologies, new analytical tools and new ways of looking at customers are making it possible — with greater precision than ever before — to discover what customers truly value.

If you haven’t already got them, you’re going to need some disruptive capabilities in your team to shake things up and really prepare your business for the future, as well as an agile CI journey partner with the deep technical expertise to deliver lasting benefits.

As an emerging global authority on integrative improvement, Competitive Capabilities International (CCi Pty Ltd) was selected as a sample vendor of Lean production systems in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Strategy for three consecutive years (from 2015 to 2017). Our track record of successful long-term partnerships with our clients is unrivalled, and bears testimony to the depth of our partnering approach.

This resource has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained herein without obtaining specific professional advice. Competitive Capabilities International (CCi) does not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this resource or for any decision based on it.

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