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News CBI Formula: 8. Ever better systems...

CBI Formula: 8. Ever better systems...

New Future Formula has been assisting organizations for 10 years. To celebrate this we are sharing tips and tricks with you over a period of 10 weeks. We wish to provide you with inspiration to continue your journey towards the top. We have mapped processes (1), identified potentials (2), reflected on opportunities (3), decided (4) and realized (5) the improvements. We have also looked at how to instill an appropriate repetitive rhythm (6). Two factors support a steady production of improvements: steady growth of human motivation and the right qualifications in every corner of the organization (7), and, finally, a system to manage each project and the overall CBI-journey. The CBI-system is the theme of this week.

New Future Formula, 10 years

We have discovered the formula for continuously improving effectiveness

8. Ever better systems...


On 1 April 2017, New Future Formula set out on its journey. Much has happened since then. New Future Formula has been dedicating the past few years to fine-tuning the many approaches to making business enterprises work in a better, faster and more intelligent manner. We call this “CBI – Continuous Business Improvement” because it embraces the entire organization and supports a variety of already on-going effectiveness-enhancing initiatives. CBI can therefore improve revitalization of on-going programmes, if this is required. Our CBI is also the ideal tool for companies looking for a simple yet powerful structure and sturdy tools for their future effectiveness-enhancing programme. We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary by serving you, the readers of New Future Formula's newsletter, 10 easily digestible titbits.


Using the CBI formula, organizations continuously achieve three things:

  • Documented bottom-line revenue improvements to the tune of 4-16 %.
  • Year by year, improvements that the customers can understand and which make sense for the staff.
  • Year by year, people with enhanced skills and improved systems to see and to carry through improvements.

The CBI journey is constantly supported by an attentive management, continued competence development, which we discussed last week, and a good system which is this week's topic.

An organisation needs ‘a place’, somewhere where manage its CBI cycle, file its reports and results, manage its projects, share templates, training materials and examples – and much more. You might want to call this infrastructure the ‘CBI system’ or something entirely different. Regardless of what you call it, it constitutes a common, central transparent platform, where all the CBI threads are gathered.

All of today’s organisations are experienced with the process of working with improvements. You might use other terms than ‘CBI’, varying stages and different methods and goals. The work you invest in building a CBI system is an excellent opportunity to calibrate the terminology, tools and improvement practices across the organisation.

But what level of ambitions should you really aim at in your efforts to design, implement and work with your own CBI programme?

Initially, you could rely on the simple solutions using tools already commonplace in your organisation, such as Word documents, Lotus Notes databases and spreadsheets. Later, once your manual tools and CBI procedures are in place and are being used, you might want to automate and structure the procedures by carefully designing a dedicated CBI system.

Another option is to build and implement a grand CBI system from the start, to be used as an internal spearhead and PR branding platform for the CBI programme.

There is no single answer to what road you should choose. This will depend on your circumstances.

Building CBI systems can be very interesting and rewarding. Not far from bygone days when you built your own universes in Lego blocks; you create a universe which the organisational stakeholders must accept and use for it to work. Together you create the ‘CBI Lego city’ complete with ‘houses, roads, cars, airports and fire stations’, and of course you get the best results when everybody wants to join in the fun.

No matter how much you treasure the CBI system, I should like to point out that the crux of the matter is that people govern these systems – and not the other way round. To be more precise, the systems should support the way in which you have decided to work with CBI, the purpose, objective and direction you have defined for your company, and the commercial and operational challenges you are faced with in your organisation.

Below you will find a few general experiences from the work involved in obtaining ‘ever better systems’ for your CBI journey:

  1. Do not launch the process of creating the ‘grand CBI system’ until you have a nicely trimmed ‘low-tech’ set-up for the existing procedures and tools for CBI.
  2. Focus on making existing procedures and tools simpler and automatic for the CBI process.
  3. Some try to compensate for management's failing attention with good systems. They claim that ‘what has already been determined to be done and is not done, will be done with a new CBI system.’ Do not jump on this wagon. Most often, the problem is lack of management motivation and instead this should be addressed.
  4. CBI systems may improve results by 20-50%. However, to achieve this you must already be passionate about CBI and already be training seriously towards it. You cannot improve the CBI process merely by issuing new guidelines or new demands through a CBI system. As you will know, new and more expensive boots don’t make you a better football player.
  5. System developments and changes must be followed up by training for everybody.
  6. The CBI system must be a tool used to improve and operate the company – but not control it. The CBI system must support your CBI work and the implementation of your strategy at all levels.

All managements ought to be able to answer a few basic questions concerning the CBI system:

  1. Do we have a ‘CBI system’ in place today? Do we lack a formal system, do we have simple, almost manual system, or do we have a dedicated ‘CBI portal’?
  2. How does the system work today? Is it effective? Is it alive and is it constantly improving?
  3. Does the CBI system support our CBI work, as evidenced through a cycle and a master plan?
  4. Does the CBI system support the general purpose, objective and direction of our company?
  5. Do we control the CBI system – or does it control us?

You might want to address these questions at the next the meeting of your management group.

At this point we have actually reviewed the full CBI formula. I hope you have enjoyed your read and have benefited from spending time doing it. Our next posting will close this series. As the final touch, we will look at CBI from a larger perspective.

New Future Formula is dedicated to working with CBI – Continuous Business Improvement.

Together with our client:

  • We design, introduce and support new CBI programmes.
  • We inspire, evaluate and improve existing CBI programmes.

The CBI formula is our framework. To begin with we look at purpose, objectives and direction. Through continuous process improvements, employee development and system optimization we create a steady flow of results. This allows us to spread out the continuous effectiveness efforts to all corners of the company and its life.

Since 2007, New Future Formula has completed more than 8,300 improvement projects for more than 80 organizations with a documented effect on the bottom line in excess of EUR 148.6 million. In the process, more than 500 people have received training.

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