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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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What Do Lean and Improv Have In Common?

Posted by Brianna Hudock

Dec 6, 2019 8:11:00 AM

“Yes, and” - A shorthand phrase that means to first accept the current reality as it is, and then to make a decision and build something based on this reality. Although this concept might sound very similar to certain aspects of Lean, it is actually the backbone of improv comedy. Improv comedy is the art of performing something invented on the spot. Although it can sound rather intimidating, “yes, and” sets a foundation of trust so that performers can become comfortable enough performing with one another even when they have no idea what’s going to happen next. 

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The Art of Asking Good Coaching Questions

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 4, 2019 7:09:00 AM

Today we are bringing you another recap of a presentation from the 2019 KaiNexicon event. We were delighted to draw together leaders and change agents from a wide variety of organizations to pool our collective wisdom and get better at getting better.

We were thrilled that Jamie V. Parker agreed to participate. Jamie is on a mission to make the world of work more human. She's a trainer, speaker, and mentor with over 17 hears of multi-unit operations management in manufacturing, retail, and service environments.

We received so much great feedback about her presentation that we wanted to do a recap for anyone who missed it. Of course, you can watch the video here, if you prefer.

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Topics: Leadership

Why is Kaizen Such a Popular Name for Sushi Restaurants?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 29, 2019 7:15:00 AM

The Sacramento area is home to a small chain of sushi restaurants called Mikuni. The downtown location is a favorite of politicians and lobbyists. When they opened up the newest location in Roseville, they gave it a new name, "Mikuni Kaizen." They explained, "The Japanese word "kaizen," which translates to "continuous improvement," truly reflects the concept behind this Mikuni location. While the menu features a host of exquisite sushi rolls made popular at the restaurant's other locations, it is also highlighted by an extensive selection of small plates and tapas-style dishes- each more exciting and compelling than the next."

Of course, seeing this on a recent visit piqued my interest. It isn't common to find continuous improvement related terms out in the wild, so it stuck with me. It turns out that the idea of applying the principles of kaizen to sushi (or vice versa) is not as novel as I thought. A quick Google search revealed that there are lots of sushi restaurants with kaizen in the name.

In addition to Roseville's Mikuni Kaizen, you could enjoy:

  • Kaizen Campbell in Campbell, CA
  • Kaizen Sushi Bar & Grill in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Kaizen Sushi in San Francisco, CA
  • Kaizen Tavern in Alexandria, VA

And those are just the ones that made the first page of Google.

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Topics: Kaizen

Did Microsoft Hack Employee Productivity with a 4 Day Work Week?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 25, 2019 8:00:00 AM

By now, you’ve probably heard of Microsoft’s experiment with a four day work week in Japan. The trial program, which saw offices closed every Friday during August, was part of Microsoft’s “Work-Life Choice Challenge,” a summer project set up to look at work-life balance and help find ways to boost creativity and productivity.

The results were pretty amazing. Productivity increased by 39.9% versus the same period in 2018. Not only was productivity improved, but also the number of printed pages in the office dropped by 59%, and electricity consumption was down 23%.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement

Celebrating Mary Greeley Medical Center

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 22, 2019 2:18:09 PM

I'm taking a break from our regular stream of improvement methodology and software blog posts to celebrate the success of one of our oldest and best customers - Mary Greeley Medical Center!

A 220-bed acute care facility in Ames, Iowa, Mary Greeley is one of only six healthcare organizations to receive the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Their CEO, Brian Dieter, is quoted in this press release saying:

“Everyone at Mary Greeley played an important part in this achievement,” said Dieter. “Every employee contributes to the experience patients and families have when they walk through our doors, whether they are at the bedside caring for patients or supporting those who do.”

This year, Mary Greeley also earned Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. They are one of just twelve hospitals in the nation to have achieved both of these recognitions.

The press release goes on to describe factors contributing to their Baldrige success:

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Picking the Right Lean Tools for the Job

Posted by Adam Darnell

Nov 21, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Whether or not your organization fully embraces the Lean approach to business, the methodology has a ton of useful tools and techniques. So many, in fact, that it can be challenging to decide which one to use for various types of improvement efforts. We can't give you a definitive answer because every organization and situation is unique, but there are some situations for which particular tools are generally well suited. Here are some recommendations.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Lean Software

What I Learned by Leaving Toyota

Posted by Clint Corley

Nov 19, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Our 2019 KaiNexicon event in Austin was a tremendous success, thanks to all of our fabulous participants and speakers. Lots of valuable information was shared, and long-term connections formed.

The event kicked off with a Keynote from Jess Orr of WestRock Company. This post is a recap of her presentation. We invite you to watch the video as well.

Jess Orr is a continuous improvement manager with over 12 years of experience working in a variety of industries. Her approach has been greatly influenced by the time she spent working directly for Toyota in Georgetown, KY. Jess focuses on equipping and guiding people in the application of improvement principles and practices to elevate the performance of their organizations.

 


Jess shared that she worked for Toyota in Georgetown, Kentucky, for several years. Her experience of working there was utterly transformative, both personally and professionally. Due to some personal circumstances, she had to leave Toyota about four years ago, which was a difficult thing to do. Although it was devastating at the time, in hindsight, Jess believes it is one of the best things that ever happened to her.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, KaiNexus User Conference

Fundamental Skills Every Project Manager Must Master

Posted by Jake Sussman

Nov 18, 2019 1:25:13 PM

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a global nonprofit professional organization for project management. They wrote the book on project management. Literally. It's called the Project Management Body of Knowledge, and it has become the standard by which PMP (Project Management Professional) certification through PMI is obtained.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture, PPM

4 Big Improvement Ideas to Set the Stage for Success in 2020

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 7, 2019 9:13:47 AM

It seems like every year goes by faster than the last. I keep making plans to work on my summer tan, and suddenly, it's November. The holidays will be upon us before we know it and then – boom! We're in a brand-new decade.

Before things get too crazy, this is an excellent time to think about how you can set your team up for outstanding results in 2020. It won't surprise you to hear us say it, but making just some small adjustments in your leadership approach can have an enormous impact. Here are four improvement ideas to consider in the new year.

Take Strategic Planning to the Next Level

Most organizations go through some sort of strategic planning exercise for each new year, but few can execute the strategy successfully. That's because the strategy is planned but not fully deployed. It doesn't become part of daily conversations or activities. Perhaps the revenue targets are well understood and receive frequent attention, but what about everything else.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

The Case for Investing in Improvement Technology in a Recession is Strong

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Oct 31, 2019 12:50:41 PM

Is the US heading into a recession? This question has been coming up more often over the last few months as economic indicators have economists, investors, and politicians concerned. In fact, the manufacturing sector is technically already in a recession, when defined as two quarters in a row of negative growth. Whether or not the larger economy will begin to slow, nobody can say for sure, but it’s not unreasonable to be concerned.

One of the things that companies do during a recession or when they think one is coming is cut costs. This makes sense because the only ways to protect profitability are to increase revenue or reduce expenses. Increasing revenue is more challenging during a recession, so cost-cutting seems like a sound idea.

Planned technology investments are often the first thing on the chopping block. After all, the easiest way to cut costs is to stop buying stuff. The rest of this post will be dedicated to laying out the financial reasons that improvement management technology should be the exception. In fact, the data is persuasive enough that it makes sense to invest in an improvement platform even if one was never in the budget.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software

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