A New Strategy for Continuous Improvement

10 Steps to Lower Cost and Operational Excellence

A New Strategy for Continuous Improvement

Phillip Slater


Note: There is no ebook version of this title.



Developed from the author’s own practical experience, this unique resource details a proven, 10-step approach to cost reduction, and provides a series of tools to help you achieve sustainable cost reduction in your business while avoiding the damage of “slash and burn”. 

A New Strategy for Continuous Improvement  presents a new ‘Operations Improvement Cycle’. This cycle provides the benchmark, priority and guidance that were missing in the original cycle. This is achieved through a three stage process involving 10 specific steps. Additionally, it explores the issues with the traditional approach to continuous improvement and cost reduction and then takes you through the three stages and the '10 Steps’ in detail. Working with this manual will change your approach to cost reduction forever. Not only will you save money on an ongoing basis, but these proven techniques will have an impact almost immediately!



  • Explains the steps to lower cost reduction, how to apply them, and in what order.
  • Includes 47 specific 'must do' actions for success.
  • Details the 42 common mistakes people make.
  • Discusses how implementation is a process, not just an entry on a Gantt chart.
  • Contains 24 templates to help guide you through the entire process.
  • Provides 20 case studies that can be applied to any business.


Phillip Slater

Phillip Slater has more than 25 years of business improvement experience. While the last 15 of these have been spent in operations and management consulting, the first 10 were spent ‘hands on in industry learning by direct experience. It was during this time, and by learning from both his successes and failures, that Phillip developed many of the approaches that his company, Initiate Action, applies today.

Based on his experience, Phillip has authored a number of management books including A New Strategy for Continuous Improvement and Smart Inventory Solutions. Over the course of his career Phillip has worked in at least a dozen countries and across most industries. He presents training courses for APICS, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and The National Speaker’s Association of Australia. Selected operational improvement achievements include:

  • As a manager, taking an underperforming manufacturer to be the profit leader in its group of companies
  • Assisting a client to achieve more than 20% in operational cost reduction
  • Assisting other clients to achieve tens of millions of dollars of operational improvements
  • Assisting a client to achieve a 42% reduction in inventory
  • Assisting other clients to release millions of dollars in cash from excess inventory


For the past five years Phillip has donated his time as a Non Executive Director for Yooralla, one of Australia’s leading disability service providers.In addition to his operations improvement consulting work, Phillip is also available for corporate speaking and training. For more informaiton, visit the author's website at www.phillipslater.com.

From the Back Cover

Finally... a text that clearly shows how to actually achieve cost reduction and continuous improvement - step by step!


InA New Strategy for Continuous Improvement: 10 Steps to Lower Costs and Operational Excellence, Phillip Slater presents, step-by-step, a new Operations Improvement Cycle that provides the benchmark, priority, and guidance which many see as missing in the old “Plan-Do-Check-Act” cycle. This is achieved through an easy-to-follow three-stage process involving 10 specific steps.


Using real life examples and case studies, this volume not only explains the 10 Steps approach but also demonstrates how and why the approach is an improvement on past practices. Worksheets and templates are included to help guide the reader through the entire process.


Because it is based on real life experience, A New Strategy for Continuous Improvement contains practical content that you can use immediately. It is perfect for: automotive OEMs and suppliers; utilities suppliers; airlines; steel industry; oil refineries; aluminum smelters; process industries; manufacturing; mining; service industries; and corporate management. Actually, A New Strategy for Continuous Improvement: 10 Steps to Lower Costs and Operational Excellence can be applied to any business.

  • From this book you will learn:
  • The 10 steps to a Lower Cost Business
  • How to apply the 10 steps and in which order
  • How they fit within a continuous improvement cycle
  • 47 specific 'must do' actions for success
  • 42 mistakes that people make
  • That implementation is a process not just an entry on a Gantt chart
  • From real life examples (there are 20 case studies) exactly how to apply each step in the real world
  • By following the 10 Steps process, readers will achieve significant and ongoing business improvement and cost reduction. And the good news is that applying this process doesn't take more time. It just becomes a natural part of the way you do business!


Part 1: Achieving Success Through Continuous Improvement 1

Introduction 3

Getting the Most Out of This Manual 7

The Importance of Cash Flow 11

Identifying and Measuring Benefits 15

8 Reasons Why Operations Improvement Efforts Fail 17

The New Operations Improvement Cycle 21

Part 2: The 10 Steps to Lower Costs and Operational Excellence 31

Step #1: Get Organized 33

Step #2: Apply the Fundamentals With Rigor 43


Step #3: Focus on Function, Not Cost 51

Step #4: Identify and Focus on the Leverage Points 59

Step #5: Limit and Prioritize Resources 67

Step #6: Work on the 1%ers 75

Step #7: Eliminate Duplication 83

Step #8: Question Everything 91

Step #9: Take Some Chances 99

Step #10: Ignore Tradition 107

The Complete Picture 115

Part 3: Planning and Implementation 117

Action Planning 119

Implementation 123

Appendix A: Example – The 10 Steps and Minimizing Inventory 131

Appendix B: Glossary 133

Appendix C: About Initiate Action 145