Continuous improvement is of necessity in the very DNA of our shops.

Continuous improvement is in our DNA
Continuous improvement is in our DNA

In ISO 9000:2000 Section 8.5.1 read :
The organization shall continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system through the use of the quality policy, quality objectives, audit results, analysis of data, corrective and preventive action, and management review. 
In TS16949:2009 it read: Continual Improvement of the Organization
The organization must define a process for continual improvement . Manufacturing Process Improvement
Manufacturing process improvement must continually focus on control and reduction of variation in product characteristics and manufacturing process parameters.
The standard defined continual improvement as : “recurring activity to increase the ability to fulfill requirements.”
Recurring activity. To me that means cycle.
It is not a wheel, PDSA is a continuous cycle of cycles!
It is not a wheel, PDSA is a continuous cycle of cycles!

Karen Martin shared this graphical representation of PDSA in her book The Outstanding Organization.
Plan. Do. Study. Adjust.
This is the process of continuous (continual) improvement.
Plan. Do. Study. Adjust.
It’s what we do.
If this sounds familiar, it is because I first wrote about this here Karen Martin
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Submitted by Monte C. Guitar, PMPA Director of Technology.
Don’t wait for an outside auditor to provide the assistance to “make you better.”  The best opportunities for improving precision machining operations will not be provided by your outside auditor. Here are our 3 reasons that precision machining companies are the ‘real experts’ on their processes and business:
Reason #1-  Process Expertise. Who knows your processes better than you? You’ve been doing this stuff for many years prior to ISO being a condition of business. You bring in the auditor to assess your quality systems, not to consult on your business.
Reason #2- Limited expertise by auditor in your processes. To be truly expert requires depth of experience in both auditing and your processes. Unless the auditor worked specifically in your field, they lack expertise in your process. What  they bring is quality systems expertise to evaluate your implementation.
Reason # 3- Standard is basis for the audit, not the auditor’s vision. If the requirement is not in the standard, then implementation becomes a business choice. It is easy for an auditor to describe the wonders of “one place I’ve seen” to a company that is looking for their own version of utopia. It is another thing to implement. Calibrate the good ideas  the auditor brings to your firm’s  available time and manpower constraints.
Top management should be concerned if they determine in a closing meeting that the best improvement opportunities for the company via the quality area were identified after an eight hour visit from someone who is not even fully educated to your process.
Great auditors recognize their role in helping precision machining companies improve their systems. Great precision machining companies recognize their responsibility to improve their implementation.
Denise Robitaille wrote an interesting piece in Quality Digest that might be of interest to you. Audits are an integral part of your business:
What do you think the auditor’s role should be?