Continual improvement for competitive advantage is not the primary policy of organisations,
either in theory or practice. A deductive rationale is presented for the emerging
need to make "continual improvement for competitive advantage" the primary policy
of any organisation. This is based on the inexorable acceleration of technical change
and the Darwinian selective pressures of competition. Giving primacy to continual
improvement naturally gives a different slant to company policies, strategies and
objectives by subordinating them. Systematic continual improvement policy generates
particular emphasis on people, planning, performance measures and procedures. Inductive
study reaches similar conclusions but lacks the cogency of a rational framework.
A continual improvement policy is a touchstone for the choice and use of planning
and operational practices. A game plan for continual improvement is illustrated that
integrates the planning, operation and evaluation of performance for the whole operation,
its divisions and their personnel. The self-assessment questionnaire technique offers
a quick insight into an organisation's preparedness for gaining competitive advantage
through continual improvement.