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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Why Software Needs to be Part of Your Lean Strategy

Posted by Clint Corley

Oct 18, 2018 8:42:00 AM

If you’ve decided to embrace the Lean business methodology, we offer our congratulations. It is an excellent approach to reducing waste, capturing opportunities for improvement, and creating a culture of innovation.

When most leaders start their Lean journey -- and it is a journey, we’re sure no one has achieved Lean perfection yet --  they focus on training managers and staff to ensure that they understand what Lean is really all about. This is a critical undertaking, but our clients have found that it is not enough on its own.

In addition to education, you and your team need the right tools in place to support Lean, and that starts with Lean management software.

Not only does software make your organization more effective at continuous improvement, but it also increases your strength as a leader.

Here’s why software should be a central part of your Lean strategy.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software, Strategy Deployment

Toyota, Bourbon, and Continuous Improvement

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 17, 2018 11:56:45 AM

One of the greatest benefits of working at KaiNexus is our commitment to learning and growth. I was thrilled when Kade Janssen and I were given the opportunity to attend the first Symposium on Learning Organizations: Agile, Lean, Deming, and More hosted by Mark Graban, Dion Stewart, and Joel Tosi.

The Symposium started off with a visit to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) in San Antonio, Texas. Although this was Kade’s and my second trip to the Toyota manufacturing plant, there was still lots to learn.

First was the visitor’s center. It had been completely redesigned from our previous trip. Aside from still having the ever-present Andon-cord, Toyota added a number of hands-on activities, including a car door spray paint video game, an example of the automated motorized cart tugs, and a demonstration of their weight-assisted chair movers.

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How Digital Idea Boards Accelerate Innovation

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 16, 2018 4:31:20 PM

We’ve written before about the reasons that traditional suggestion boxes rarely result in lasting positive change. The biggest problem is that they are just a passive receptacle for employee ideas without any structure for ensuring that every suggestion is evaluated and many are implemented. Fortunately, there is a modern alternative that is helping companies in every industry achieve continuous daily improvement and even a few breakthrough ideas. Digital idea boards are the ideal alternative to suggestion boxes or improvement spreadsheets.

Here’s how they make innovation happen faster.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, Daily Lean Management, Suggestion Systems, Innovation Software

Lean Management Software: Why, What, and How?

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 12, 2018 9:45:00 AM

The three most common questions we get about Lean management software are:

  • Why do we need it?
  • What does it do? And,
  • How do we implement it?

These are all excellent questions. This post has the answers.

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10 Common Standard Work Mistakes

Posted by Clint Corley

Oct 10, 2018 8:14:00 AM

Standard Work is a brilliantly simple concept. The current best practice for a process or activity is defined and then improved upon when opportunities arise.

Easy, right?

Unfortunately, it is a little trickier than it sounds.

We work with organizations every day that are implementing a variety of improvement techniques, including Standard Work. We’ve seen it executed perfectly, but we’ve also seen a multitude of ways it can go wrong.

Here are some of the most common mistakes we see managers make when it comes to Standard Work.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

What Changes When You Implement Kaizen Software?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 8, 2018 10:22:33 AM

One thing that we hear quite often from leaders who have attempted to create a Kaizen culture is that initial enthusiasm quickly wanes, and improvement projects move in fits and starts. In most cases, these leaders have embraced the Kaizen mindset, but haven’t implemented a software platform to support it.

On the flip side of that, our clients who have implemented an improvement platform tell us that it has helped transform their organization into one that consistently produces positive change.

Here’s what they say happens when Kaizen software is deployed.

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Topics: Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

6 Principles of the Continuous Improvement Model

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 4, 2018 3:58:36 PM

There are a host of methodologies that businesses use to bring structure to the process of identifying and acting upon opportunities for improvement.  You may be familiar with Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, Toyota Production System and others.  Although these methodologies differ, the heart of each of them is the continuous improvement model. 

The continuous improvement model reflects the idea that organizations should undertake incremental improvements to services, products, and processes. It is guided by a few core principles:

 

 

Principle 1 – Improvements are based on small changes, not only on major paradigm shifts or new inventions

This concept is important, because large changes often feel frightening and destabilizing to organizations. By approaching change in small, incremental steps, the continuous improvement model reduces the fear factor and increases speed to improvement. When following this principle, the organization does not need to wait for a strategic shift or a new product release to begin to advance.

Principle 2 – Employee ideas are valuable

The continuous improvement model relies greatly on employees, not only top management, to identify opportunities for improvement. This bottom-up improvement is effective because employees are closest to the problems, and thus better equipped to solve them.

When thinking of these two principles, consider the value of engaging your staff. If you were to ask everyone in the organization for ideas to create a new product line or revolutionize the way they care for their patients, you're not going to get anything; staff are focused on their own day-to-day work. They (understandably) can't come up with monumental ideas at the drop of a hat!

Instead, ask people what improvement they could make that would save them 5 minutes a day. Then empower them to implement that improvement, and spread it to everyone else in the organization doing the same process. In this way, you can take a small idea that anyone could come up with and drive a big impact. For example, say get one idea from ten employees, each of which saves them five minutes per day. That's ten ideas. Share all ten of those improvements with one hundred other employees, so that every one of them is now saving fifty minutes per day (10 ideas x 5 minutes each).

By asking people for a small idea that shaves 5 minutes off their day and propagating their ideas around the organization, you're about to save 3.4 YEARS of manpower with the ideas of just 10 people. Imagine how much you would save if you extended the "ask" of a five minute idea to your entire organization!

Another way to encourage employees to spot opportunities and implement improvements is to ask "what bugs you?". 

Most complaints involve a delta between the current state and the employee’s idea of how things should be. Sometimes the gripe includes a specific recommendation. It might go something like, “If they would just do X, Y, and Z, the problem would be solved.” Sometimes there is no solution included. You might hear, “There’s got to be something they could do to fix this!” 

Did you notice the operative word in each of these examples? They. When employees are disempowered and disconnected from the improvement process, all they can do is wait for “They” (management) to recognize and correct problems. When that doesn’t happen it’s natural (and probably healthy) for people to express their frustration.

Leaders who adopt the continuous improvement model don’t shy away from employee complaints.

How to be an Influential Kaizen Coach

Quite the contrary, they embrace them as opportunities for improvement. If a team member notices something amiss and says something about it, that’s a good thing. That’s the beginning of the improvement cycle. Companies with a culture of improvement take it even further. They give employees a process for reporting and acting upon ideas to save money, improve processes, satisfy clients, and improve quality. What’s more, they provide systems and structure for doing so and they recognize those who contribute to making the organization better one small initiative at a time.

People are often told not to complain about something unless they are willing to do something about it. That’s only fair when there is something they can do. Good leaders give people that opportunity.

KaiNexus customers have cumulatively saved over one MILLION hours of manpower, time that can now be spent on value-adding activities. Check out this article to see what can be accomplished in one million hours for a better picture of the impact of incremental improvements.

Check out this video to learn about the "What Bugs You" program at Springhill Camps and see how leaders used this approach to engage their frontline employees in solving problems - resulting in the invention of an incredible new product.

 

 

 

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How to Increase Adoption of Kaizen Software from the Get-Go

Posted by Clint Corley

Oct 2, 2018 11:22:34 AM

If a tree falls in the forest, we’re pretty sure it makes a sound even if no one is around to hear it. We’re 100% sure that if you implement Kaizen software and no one uses it, there will be no impact. There might be a lot of noise from grumbling executives who’ve just wasted a lot of money, but no positive change.

That’s why it is so important to plan your Kaizen Software roll out with a focus on broad user adoption. We’ve helped tons of clients with improvement technology implementations and here’s what we’ve learned works when it comes to getting people on board.

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Topics: Software, Innovation Software, Kaizen

13 Indispensable Lean and Six Sigma Tools and Techniques

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Sep 27, 2018 8:02:00 AM

Six Sigma is a business methodology focused on improving the quality of goods or services an organization produces by reducing variance in the production process. Six Sigma leaders know that when a production process lacks the stability to create high-quality output consistently, it will continue producing defective products until someone intervenes and improves the process. Reducing variation requires constant monitoring and measurement as systems tend to erode if not kept in check. Over the years, Six Sigma practitioners have developed a set of tools and methods that address control, and problem-solving and improvement to eliminate defects and waste. Here are a few of the most essential.

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Topics: Six Sigma

The Lean Healthcare Code

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 26, 2018 9:02:00 AM

One of the exciting things about the Lean management approach is that it is applied differently in every industry and organization. While it got its start in manufacturing, healthcare organizations have significantly benefited by using the same principles and practices with modifications. The exact tools and methods may vary from one organization to another, but there are a few core doctrines that Lean healthcare organizations all have in common. Together, they form a way of thinking that transforms organizations and changes the behavior of employees at every level of the org chart.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

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