Five tips for improvement in a decentralized organization

A decentralized organization is usually made up of small independent islands. How do you improve together?

A decentralized organization

An organization with many autonomous, locally managed components has a bottom-up management structure. The work floor takes the lead in this model. Employees and teams have a significant amount of responsibility and decision-making powers. The management works in line with the employees, focusing on the question: “How do you think we should handle this?”

Bottom-up management nowadays is a popular management structure because it can improve continuity, innovation, and company results. A top-down organization, where management announces plans and goals to the employees, is losing popularity. The decentralized organization, as a management structure, obviously has its pros and cons.


  • Employees are involved, self-sufficient and creative
  • There is broad support on the work floor


  • A high proliferation of plans occurs, everyone chooses their own way
  • Islands develop that don’t align with management goals

Improving together

Whenever an improvement process is started, it is impossible to work purely bottom-up or top-down. To really achieve a joint result, cooperation and balance needs to exist between management and the work floor. In order to improve in a bottom-up organization, it’s essential to configure the top of the organization, to make sure common organizational goals are reached, instead of individual ones.

Five tips for bottom-up improving

To support management in a decentralized organization with the improvement process, here are some tips:

  1. Set clear company goals
  2. Translate these company goals into goals for your department
  3. Implement improvement initiatives
  4. Set up an improvement matrix that clearly shows which initiatives have to be dealt with first.
  5. Set up KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so you can measure the success or progress of your improvements.

Be transparent towards the employees on the use of this top-down approach and common improvement goals. At the same time, you can preserve the autonomous strength of the organization and its employees.

In this interview, Consultant Fred Waij emphasizes the value of a clear and positive message during the initial stage.

Kaizen on the work floor

Cierpa Kaizen stimulates employees to participate. Our LEAN software makes it easy to collect and organize improvement ideas from the work floor.




Cierpa Software enables you to improve your organization continuously. LEAN manufacturing changes your work floor processes towards better and faster results and ultimately reduces any waste. With our LEAN software for companies, it’s possible to manage this ongoing process quickly and easily. Our Cierpa improvement consultants can also offer help.

Techniques and methods like 5S audit, Kaizen, OEE and the underlying LEAN thought principles are at the very core of our software suite. With Cierpa OEE, Cierpa Kaizen, Cierpa Quality, Cierpa Competence and Cierpa Assessment, Cierpa Software really speeds up all your improvement processes!

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Five tips for improvement in a decentralized organization