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Common Questions About the DMAIC Cycle for Improvement

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 17, 2021 1:34:12 PM

The DMAIC cycle is often called Six Sigma’s roadmap to improvement. It is one of the core tools of the methodology, but organizations also use it as a standalone improvement technique. We have clients in almost every industry, from healthcare to construction, who have achieved quantifiable impact against core business metrics by using the DMAIC approach. 

Here are some of the questions we get asked about the DMAIC cycle most often.

 

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Process, DMAIC

The History & Evolution of the PDSA Cycle of Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 13, 2021 1:19:01 PM

The PDSA cycle is a popular approach to process improvement because of its simultaneous simplicity and effectiveness. PDSA cycles can be applied to an unlimited number of processes, making them applicable across almost every industry. We thought it was worth a quick look back at how it came to be and how it has changed over time.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Lean

The Power of Small Ideas in Improving Vaccinations

Posted by Mark Graban

May 11, 2021 4:44:22 PM

With all of the work going on to set up and run Covid-19 vaccination centers around the world, the principles of Lean process design are really helpful. But, as hard as we might try, no process is ever perfect, so having a culture of continuous improvement from the get-go is incredibly important.

Many times, when you ask an employee to share an improvement idea, they might say, “I can’t think of anything.” I’ve heard that in different organizations -- have you? Have you heard that at a vaccination site you might be working with?

When people say, “I don’t have any ideas,” they often mean, “I can’t think of a million-dollar idea.” They assume (incorrectly) that a manager (or an outside consultant) only asks for big ideas with a substantial financial impact when we start a conversation about problems, ideas, or improvements. 

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DMAIC Tools Offer a Solid Structure for Problem Solving

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 11, 2021 10:30:14 AM

DMAIC (Deh-May-Ick) tools are some of the most critical options in the continuous improvement toolbox. They are most closely associated with the Six Sigma methodology. Still, the DMAIC approach to problem-solving is also used by those who practice Lean manufacturing or don’t use a formal management structure. DMAIC is so widely used because the problem-solving framework takes teams from discovering root causes to long-term, stable standard work. It is a repeatable process that employees can learn to apply to any number of process problems.  

What Are DMAIC Tools?

DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.  Motorola is credited with bringing it to prominence, although it was essentially an evolution of the Toyota production system.

A deeper dive reveals why it works so well.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process, DMAIC

My Journey to Becoming a KaiNexian

Posted by Morgan Wright

May 10, 2021 11:00:00 AM

Hi, my name is Morgan Wright. I am the Customer Marketing Manager at KaiNexus, and began working here April 2021. I was born and raised in Austin, TX - and in my opinion, the best city on earth. Even though I grew up in Austin, I still find new things to do all the time. The best part is all the things to do outside - I love to go on hikes, spend the day at Barton Springs, paddleboard, or try new workout classes in my free time. Thank goodness the warm weather allows for (almost) year-round outdoor activities! 

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How to Design and Use an A3 Management Process Template

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 3, 2021 4:23:43 PM

Whether you’ve read volumes about various business methodologies and the philosophy of continuous improvement or just a few articles, you can’t be blamed if you’ve started to wonder if Toyota developed every improvement technique.

They certainly contributed a lot but, companies like Motorola, General Electric, Nike, and others have enhanced thinking about the power of positive change. In fact, these days companies far outside of the manufacturing sector including those in healthcare, construction, and higher education are finding new ways to inch closer to business process perfection.

However, there is no denying that many of the tools and techniques that businesses of all sorts find useful were developed as part of the Toyota Production System.

The A3 management process is one example.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

A Guide to Sustained Improvement with the Kaizen Methodology

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 27, 2021 1:11:25 PM

If you are exploring ways to make your organization more efficient and better at sustaining continuous improvement, you may have come across references to the Kaizen Methodology. Masaaki Imai introduced the Kaizen Methodology to the world in 1986 in his book, Kaizen, The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. We recommend it along with several other titles that we’ll share at the end of this post. This post provides you with the basics of the Kaizen Methodology and hopefully leaves you wanting to learn more.

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Topics: Kaizen

Back to Basics - 6 Principles of Lean Healthcare

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Apr 22, 2021 11:23:50 AM

We spend a lot of time and effort on this blog digging into the details of how to start, spread, and sustain a Lean culture. We think it is important to get very specific about the Lean tools and techniques that produce measurable results for healthcare organizations. So of course, we care a lot about technology solutions that bring it all together. However, sometimes it is a good idea to pull back and move away from the details. Once in a while, it pays to get the 30,000-foot view and remember why we are doing this at all.

What drives the Lean approach in healthcare and what fundamental values should drive each tactical decision?

These six principles of Lean healthcare arrived at by John Toussaint, MD, CEO emeritus of ThedaCare and CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value in Appleton, Wis., and Leonard L. Berry, distinguished professor of marketing at the Mays Business School of Texas A&M University, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings are an excellent place to start.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

Three Steps to Applying the A3 Problem-Solving Methodology

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Apr 21, 2021 1:33:07 PM

The A3 problem-solving methodology was first used by Toyota in the 1960s and later embraced by proponents of Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Lean, and other systematic approaches to continuous improvement. "A3" references a European paper size that is about the same size as an American 11-inch by 17-inch tabloid-sized paper. Using the A3 process, teams create a one-page improvement project report. By limiting the report to one page, teams are forced to be concise and thoughtful about including only relevant information needed to solve problems. 

Because our solution supports the A3 technique, and problem-solving and continuous improvement go hand in hand, we are often asked for tips on how to deploy it. Here are three steps to success.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

The Motivation-Hygiene Theory of Employee Engagement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 20, 2021 10:00:57 AM

It is relatively common for people to use the terms "employee engagement" and "employee satisfaction" interchangeably. However, we have never been comfortable with that framing, especially when it comes to software to measure and improve engagement. Tools like employee NPS and employee pulse surveys do an excellent job of measuring employee satisfaction, but they don't have features likely to increase employee engagement. Understanding the difference can help organizations that want to attract, retain, and develop talent find the tools that can help them do so.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

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