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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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What Happens When an Organization Takes a Kaizen Approach to Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 25, 2019 7:32:00 AM

In my opinion, Kaizen is one of the most brilliantly simple, yet powerful business philosophies there is. Translated from Japanese, it simply means, “good change.” The Kaizen approach rests on the principle that everyone should be involved in improvement, every day. It is a form of mutual respect that empowers employees to create the conditions under which they can do their best work.

Organizations that embrace the Kaizen approach are all over the map in terms of industry, geography, and size, but there are a few ways that you can recognize them. Kaizen has a transformative impact, and some common attributes start to emerge when the approach is consistently applied.

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Topics: Kaizen

Synchronize Strategy, Tactics, and Operations with Hoshin Kanri

Posted by Noah Paratore

Apr 24, 2019 7:45:00 AM

Hoshin Kanri is a strategic planning approach that is often used to improve organizations. Although it is not as commonly used as some other Lean techniques, it is an extremely useful way to ensure that the entire organization is working towards the same ends and moving in the same direction. An organization does not need to be practicing Lean to benefit from Hoshin Kanri, any organization that has embraced the ideas that continuous improvement is essential and that employees should be empowered to create positive change can benefit from the approach.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Strategy Deployment

When Daily Huddles Go Astray

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 23, 2019 7:32:00 AM

When I decided to write this post, I thought it would be interesting to see what others have written about the practice of daily huddle meetings. Wow! There are a lot of ideas out there about what should happen during a huddle. It took me a minute to realize that not every organization gears its huddle toward continuous improvement. Some use the huddles for team building, status updates, training, or even employee performance evaluation.

That’s all fine, of course, folks can use their huddle for whatever they like, but if your goal is to use your daily huddle as part of a continuous improvement initiative, there are some warning signs that all is not well. In the context of improvement, the goal of the daily huddle is to agree on the priorities for the day. That seems simple enough, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Here are a few of the problems that can come up and how to tackle them.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Daily Lean Management

How Hoshin Planning Aligns with PDSA

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 19, 2019 7:32:00 AM

We get a lot of questions from leaders about which continuous improvement tools and techniques they should use. Is DMAIC better than PDSA? Should I do Gemba walks or daily huddles? When do I use incremental improvement vs. a Kaizen event? These are all reasonable questions, but the great news is that most continuous improvement tools, including those popular with organizations that use the Lean or Six Sigma methodology, work very well together. In fact, in many cases, they were developed jointly.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Improvement Process, Strategy Deployment

The Truth About Electronic Suggestion Boxes

Posted by Noah Paratore

Apr 17, 2019 2:07:17 PM

There are lies people tell for selfish or malicious reasons. They come up in business from time to time, but far more common are fairytales that are told out of a desire for the fiction to be true. Sometimes folks think if they repeat something often enough, it will become fact. We believe that’s the reason for so many of the myths we hear about the electronic suggestion box. Lots of people (and vendors) sing their praises, but we’ve yet to find an organization that was transformed after implementing a way to collect anonymous employee ideas. Here are a few reality checks.

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Topics: Suggestion Systems, Continuous Improvement Software

Master Improvement with Kata Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 16, 2019 2:45:06 PM

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."

- Bruce Lee

 

Kata is a Japanese word that means form. In martial arts, it refers to a detailed choreographed pattern of movements that are practiced alone or in groups. Kata was a way that training methods and the most successful combat techniques were passed from generation to generation. This systematic approach to training allows students to develop the ability to perform the movements with reflex-like precision; they become second nature. When someone is new to the practice, the moves will look difficult, but once they become a master, each action will look effortless and smooth. Repetition, precision, and attention to form are the prerequisites for mastery.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process

A Step-by-Step Walkthrough of the DMAIC Process

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 12, 2019 7:56:00 AM

DMAIC is a structured, customer-focused, data-driven approach to problem-solving. The acronym stands for “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.” It is often associated with the Lean or Six Sigma business methodologies but can be valuable for any organization looking to support incremental improvement.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology, DMAIC

Why Some Hoshin Kanri Implementations Go Wrong

Posted by Kade Jansson

Apr 11, 2019 7:46:56 AM

Hoshin Kanri is a strategy deployment approach that is popular with organizations using the Lean or Six Sigma business methodology and others that commit to continuous improvement. The object is to define the organization’s “True North” and drive toward it, reaching breakthrough goals while still managing daily incremental improvement. When properly executed, organizations have used it to improve profitability, sustain growth, enter new markets, and deliver innovative new products to customers. (If you are not familiar with the approach, you can learn more about it in this post.)

As useful as Hoshin Kanri can be, it doesn’t always work. We’ve seen some organizations achieve great success and others give up in frustration.

While every organization is different, here are some of the common problems we see when Hoshin planning hits a dead end.

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Topics: Lean, Hoshin Kanri

13 Vital Operational Excellence Software Capabilities

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 10, 2019 7:37:44 AM

Starting a quest for operational excellence is one of the most significant steps an organization can take. Operational excellence involves focusing on the customers' needs, keeping the employees engage and empowered, and continually improving processes in the workplace. It requires effective problem-solving, collaboration, and leadership.

While the concept of operational excellence is not new, today’s most competitive companies take a modern approach to achieving excellence by leveraging software designed to help manage the journey toward perfection. The most helpful solutions include each of these thirteen key capabilities.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Operational Excellence

Visual Management Software Features that Excite Executives

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 4, 2019 8:32:00 AM

As I prepared to write this post, I did a Google Search of, “Visual Management Software,” just to see what popped up. The top 4 posts were about visual project management software. So, it’s not surprising that lots of folks think that’s all there is to visual management technology. Project management software is something that executives will often approve for other people to use, but not something they get excited about for their own use.

But visual management is much more than just project management. Ideally, the entire organization would be managed visually. Why? Because, when presented with information visually, people are significantly more likely to understand and retain it than if the information is presented in other ways. Visual management makes it easier to identify problems and interruptions in a workflow or process. Visual control is a powerful tool for continuous improvement. It makes it easier to engage workers, gives leaders critical insight into operations, and helps to ensure results come in as expected.

We’re not talking about a simple task manager app; we’re talking about using visual management software as the dashboard for running the organization. Here are some of the features that the C-suite will love.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Visual Management

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