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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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"Lean Thinking" and the 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Kade Jansson

Dec 3, 2020 1:10:46 PM

James Womack and Dan Jones are the founders of the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Lean Enterprise Academy (UK), respectively. Their book, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, is considered by some to be the bible of Lean manufacturing. It was originally published in 1996 based on their in-depth study of Toyota’s fabled Toyota Production System (TPS). Philip Caldwell, Chairman and CEO of Ford from 1980-1985, said of the book, “Truly remarkable...The most comprehensive, instructive, mind-stretching and provocative analysis of any major industry I have ever known.” 

Lean Thinking lays out the five Lean manufacturing principles: value, value streams, flow, pull, and perfection. Here’s some insight into what Womack and Jones meant by each.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management

6 Steps to Improvement in Manufacturing

Posted by Brianna Hudock

Dec 1, 2020 3:59:48 PM

One of the most important responsibilities of managers in manufacturing environments is to contain costs. The most obvious cost to eliminate is the cost of low quality. Defective products and lost labor hours add no value to the customer and represent a significant strain on the organization.

To eliminate the waste of low quality, a strategic approach to improvement is essential. Here are five steps that support quality improvement in a meaningful, sustainable way.

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Topics: Quality, Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process

The Lessons We’re Thankful For This Year

Posted by JJ Puentes

Nov 24, 2020 11:00:00 AM

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches in this most difficult year, it is undeniably human to focus on all that is lost. The toll of this pandemic is enormous even for those not directly affected by COVID. But light can often be found in the darkest of places. This year, we’ve been reminded of a few truths that give us hope for a brighter future for ourselves, our team, and our community.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture

Don’t Miss Your Next $1M Idea: 5 Reasons Why You Should Include Everyone in Your Improvement System

Posted by Danielle Yoon

Nov 20, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Imagine going on a family road trip but not bringing your family. Do some people stay behind so they can experience the trip through the photos you send them? I’m willing to bet that more often than not, you bring the whole family. After all, it’s a lot more fun for you - and for them - to share in the joy together!

The same concept applies to continuous improvement and why everyone needs to be a part of the improvement system.

When you’re on the hunt for a platform that can facilitate your improvement culture, it can be tempting to limit the rollout to a handful of improvement experts and managers rather than engaging the masses. Whether you’re making this choice to save money, to keep things simple, or because you don’t think everyone will engage anyway, it’s a mistake to leave people behind.

Here are a few reasons why you don’t want to go down that route:

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture, Continuous Improvement Software

Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Auto Manufacturing Sector

Posted by Taylor Edwards

Nov 17, 2020 12:40:20 PM

As you might guess from the name, a Lean Six Sigma methodology combines Lean manufacturing principles and those of Six Sigma. This approach to production management is popular in the automotive manufacturing industry. Although there are a few areas of caution, the methodology has helped Ford, Caterpillar, General Motors, Goodyear, and many more achieve their quality and value goals.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process

The Right Way to Talk About Standard Work with Your Staff

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 12, 2020 1:01:47 PM

We've written about standard work in the past, but it is often a topic that is overlooked or misunderstood in the continuous improvement process of many organizations, so it's definitely worth revisiting. If you’re in the process of implementing LeanKaizen, Six Sigma, or another method of continuous improvement, we strongly recommend making standard work a part of your process.

What is Standard Work?

Standard work is the practice of setting, communicating, following, and improving standards.

Establishing standard work begins with creating, clarifying, and sharing information about the most efficient method to perform a task that is currently known with everyone performing that process. Once this information has been shared, everyone practices this standard consistently so that the work is done the best way every time. This is where continuous improvement comes into play; standard work isn't a "set it and forget it" process, announced once and then permanently unchanging. Instead, everyone should work to improve the standard, and share new best practices as they're discovered.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

Implementing a Culture of Improvement in Healthcare

Posted by Clint Corley

Nov 10, 2020 11:20:18 AM

Across the globe, healthcare leaders are working hard to implement the principles of continuous improvement in their organizations. Continuous improvement is a systematic, repeatable approach to enhancing the quality of care and patients' health outcomes. Building a culture of continuous improvement is not a short-term project or a quick fix but a journey that never ends. It requires commitment, investment, and persistence.

The goal of continuous improvement is operational excellence, which represents a way of working that delivers improvements in care quality and safety through the use of continuous improvement techniques. Improvement is owned and delivered by frontline staff and reinforced by ongoing training, technology, and supported by the entire organization.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture, Lean Healthcare

An Introduction to the Lean Concept of Catchball

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 6, 2020 3:25:53 PM

Most of us have memories of playing the game of catch either as children or with our children. I really shouldn’t call it a “game” because there are no winners and losers. There is no defense because everyone is on the same side. One participant tries to deliver the ball to the other in a way that they will be able to grab and return it. The ability to catch and throw a ball is important because it is a foundation for success in many other more complex sports. The Lean idea of catchball involves moving ideas and information from one person or team to another and, much like catch from childhood, it forms the basis for complicated decision making and policy development.

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Topics: Lean

How to Become a True Leader (No Matter Your Title)

Posted by Kade Jansson

Nov 3, 2020 10:17:09 AM

When people talk about the inner workings of organizations, we often use the word “leader” as a shortcut for “executive.” But the truth is, not all executives are leaders and not all leaders are executives. Anyone, no matter what their title or where they sit on the org chart, can demonstrate leadership and inspire others to achieve great things. Leadership is a set of skills and attitudes that can’t be attained by changing what it says on your business card.

Although she may seem like an odd person to quote in a blog about leadership, we agree with the amazing Dolly Parton. She said,

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

So how do you strengthen your leadership skills? Here are some practical steps you can take whether you are the CEO or a front-line employee.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture

How to Set Continuous Improvement Goals to See Real Results

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Oct 29, 2020 12:53:42 PM

We all identify goals to improve ourselves in some way. Whether our goal is to eat better, exercise more, spend more time with our family, or increase our productivity, we all have something we're striving for. Although in too many instances, we lose sight of our goals and fall back to old behaviors and the same results.

Continuous improvement is no different. So many organizations set out on a journey of continuous improvement with gusto and quickly lose momentum, causing their initiative to struggle. How do you prevent your organization from slipping back into bad habits? A sustaining culture of continuous improvement is supported by strategic goal setting.

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Topics: Leadership, Spread Continuous Improvement, ROI

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