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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


 A Deep Dive into A3 Thinking [Webinar]

Posted by Clint Corley

Mar 16, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Looking for a Lean process to enhance your problem-solving abilities? Look no further than A3, a structured approach first used at Toyota. Named for the European paper size to which A3 reports were once confined, this methodology is robust, adaptable, and can be applied to most problems.

At KaiNexus, we recently sat down with Jess Orr, continuous improvement practitioner and founder of Yokoten Learning, to discuss the A3 problem-solving approach and its many applications. You can view the webinar here.


A Deep Dive into A3 Thinking

Presented by Jess Orr

Watch Now

Covering topics including:

  • A3 Thinking: A Quick Refresher
  • When to Use an A3 vs. Other Tools
  • How to Engage Others in the Process
  • Change Management 101
  • The Hardest Part: Sustaining the Gains


Here are the highlights of the webinar:

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How to Choose the Best Lean Construction Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Mar 14, 2018 6:09:00 AM

If you’ve decided to invest in technology to support your Lean construction efforts, congratulations. Giving your team the right tools for the job is always a smart move.

Picking the system that’s going to help you complete more opportunities for improvement, sustain those improvements, and calculate the impact of Lean is an important job. Most people have little experience selecting software of this type, so it can be a little daunting.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to separate the solutions you should consider from those that will be of little value.

We’ve put together a series of questions that will help guide your selection process.

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Topics: Lean

When to Use a Kaizen Event vs. Daily Kaizen

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 12, 2018 12:06:34 PM

We get the chance to talk to leaders implementing the Kaizen approach to continuous improvement on a regular basis. One of the questions people who are new to the Kaizen way often ask is, “Should I do daily Kaizen or Kaizen events?”

The short answer is, “Yes.”

Daily Kaizen is essential for tackling small problems before they become big ones and for sustaining improvements that have been implemented. Making continuous improvement part of everyone’s job forms the basis of Kaizen culture.

However, some challenges require a more focused approach. Kaizen events require a significant investment of human capital. The team puts their other work aside for three to five days to focus on the target process or problem. That’s not trivial, so Kaizen events aren’t always the right tool for the job. But here are some situations where they make perfect sense.  

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Topics: Kaizen

How to Actually Enjoy a More Productive Gemba Walk

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 9, 2018 7:34:00 AM

Gemba walks are a valuable tool for anyone interested in continuous improvement and spreading a culture of improvement across the organization. Leaders visit the place where work gets done, observe, ask questions, and show respect. Following the walk, an improvement cycle might be started based on analysis of what was observed.

It’s actually pretty simple, but the simple things can be the most difficult to execute effectively.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your next Gemba walk.

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Topics: Gemba Walk

10 Things a Digital Kaizen Board Can Do That a Paper One Can’t

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 7, 2018 7:23:00 AM

Kaizen boards are a fantastic addition to any improvement program. They arrange information visually so that a quick glance provides useful information about the progress of improvement projects. They are popular in every industry from healthcare to construction. In terms of implementing a Kaizen board, there are really two choices. A physical board that hangs on a wall in or near the workspace or an electronic Kaizen board that can be accessed from computers or mobile phones.

While paper boards make nice artifacts, there are a bunch of things that only their digital counterparts can do.

Here are our top 10.

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Topics: Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Software

12 Valuable CQI Tools and Techniques

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Mar 5, 2018 1:13:37 PM

The continuous improvement approach to business is based on a few core principles; focus on the customer, identify and understand how the work gets done, manage and smooth the process flow, remove non-value-added steps and waste, manage by fact and reduce variation, involve and equip the people in the process, and undertake improvement activity in a systematic way.

A piece of cake, right?

In reality, buying into the ideas behind the business methodology is the easy part. Executing them in the real world is much more challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of continuous quality improvement tools (CQI tools) to help put these principles into action.

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Topics: Lean, DMAIC, sis sigma

The Pros AND Cons of Digital Kanban Boards

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Mar 1, 2018 3:19:03 PM

If you’ve read this blog before or poked around our website a bit, you know that our continuous improvement software solution includes digital Kanban boards. For that reason, you may think it is odd that we’ve written a post that includes discussion about the downside of the very tool we provide.

But Kanban software is like about everything else in life; you weigh the advantages and disadvantages and go with the approach that comes in on top. Then you try to minimize the problems as much as possible.

We think the benefits of electronic Kanban boards far outweigh the challenges, but we think it’s right to lay both on the table.

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6 New Ideas for Making Your Idea Boards Even Better

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 27, 2018 11:21:55 AM

Your idea board is probably full of smart suggestions about how to improve all sorts of processes, improve safety, reduce costs, eliminate defects, and get more work done faster.

But what about the idea board itself?

We find that it is common for people to forget to think about improving improvement. If you haven’t thought about it for a while, now is a good time to ponder what you could do to make your idea board even more effective.

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Topics: Visual Management

How to Ensure Broad Adoption of Kaizen Software

Posted by Clint Corley

Feb 23, 2018 10:20:35 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: Innovation Software, Kaizen, Software

How Can We Evaluate the Success of our Continuous Improvement Department?

Posted by Mark Graban

Feb 22, 2018 10:23:56 AM

We love answering questions in our "Ask Us Anything" video series, but sometimes we get questions that are best answered in a blog post.

Here is a question from somebody in our KaiNexus community who works in a healthcare system:

"In our Continuous Improvement department, we are often evaluating and re-evaluating how we measure the success of what it is that we do. It honestly can be a struggle sometimes, and we want to better convey it to our senior leadership and especially how it aligns with our strategic objectives year-to-year.

Some things are easier [to measure] than others.

For instance,  Kaizen events - we can get a good idea of our success with how many of our action plans were closed out and other sustainment checks. The other things - coaching, teaching, being a mentor, project management, etc. - are much harder to gauge and really "measure."

I was curious - what are the ways you know of and have researched that are great measures of success in a continuous improvement or process improvement department?"  

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