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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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How to Quantifiably Evaluate the Health of Your Improvement Culture

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 18, 2018 11:51:42 AM

Any leader of continuous improvement knows that it's difficult to prove the effectiveness of the work you're doing. A lot of the benefit of your work is soft and indirect, and it's a struggle to really know how you're performing. However, I would assert that one can determine the health of an improvement culture - and subsequently the success (or not) of efforts to spread such a culture - quantifiably by looking at metrics around three key categories: activity, engagement, and impact.

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Different Ways of Getting Started with Lean Healthcare

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jun 14, 2018 7:11:00 AM

Even after about 20 years of Lean adoption in some healthcare organizations, there are still others that are just getting started. There are many paths for starting Lean healthcare in your hospital, health system, or clinic and there’s an opportunity to learn from the lessons of those who went before you.

Here are some of the different ways to start, stated with some of the pros and cons.

Rapid Improvement Events

Some hospitals take the approach of starting with many Rapid Improvement Events (RIEs), sometimes known as Kaizen Events or Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIWs). These events generally range from two to five days and give staff and leaders dedicated time to work on significant problems that need to be solved.

One pro is that RIEs can be used to solve problems that can make a significant impact on measures that matter, including safety, quality, patient flow, cost, and staff morale - that is if projects are selected carefully. One downside to starting with RIEs is it can take a long time to get everybody in the organization exposed to Lean through the RIE learning-by-doing approach. Some organizations, like ThedaCare, have learned that RIEs need to be supplemented by other methods, like Daily Kaizen, Lean management system practices, and strategy deployment.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

Explaining Kaizen Software to Aunt Martha at the Family Reunion

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 13, 2018 7:44:00 AM

When I get the chance to interview someone who would like to join the KaiNexus team, I really only have one important question. I can safely assume that someone else has reviewed the candidate’s qualifications and vetted that they have the skills required for the position in question. What I really want to know is whether the applicant understands the nature of our business and what we offer to our customers. With that in mind, my question is this,

“If you are selected for this role, and you go to your family reunion this summer, your aunt “Martha” will undoubtedly ask you about your new job. How will you describe what our company does?”

It’s a tricky question, but not a trick one. There is no one perfect way to describe our Kaizen software solution, but there are some things I’m looking to hear. Aunt Martha’s probably never heard of Kaizen, and she’s even less likely to know that there are technology solutions designed to support it, so where does one begin?

Here are the fundamental Ideas I’d hope someone would mention when describing our business.

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Topics: Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Back to Basics - 6 Principles of Lean Healthcare

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 11, 2018 1:40:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

7 Hoshin Kanri Implementation Tips That Really Work

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 6, 2018 7:36:00 AM

The Hoshin Kanri method of strategic planning and deployment is brilliantly simple, yet powerful. It helps organizations navigate toward their “true north,” while practicing continuous daily improvement. However, like most great ideas, the devil is in the details. When we talk to leaders who have tried the approach but failed to get the desired results, the problem is usually not in the effort, but instead, in the execution. We’ve compiled a few tips to help make sure you achieve the intended outcomes.

 

Provide training about the approach and let people know what to expect and why Hoshin Kanri is different from other strategic planning tools.

I’m just going to put this out there – your employees have been through strategic planning exercises before. Anyone who’s been around the block at all has seen various goal setting schemes come and go. You’ll probably get enthusiastic nods while you’re in the meeting, but expect eye rolls and Dilbert jokes as soon as management leaves the room. Success depends on convincing your team that this is not the annual plan that gets sent out and then stuck in a drawer. A large part of the discussion should be focused on how Hoshin Kanri will guide everyday decisions and be a consistent part of how the organization is managed.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Strategy Deployment

The CAPA Software Buyer’s Guide

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 5, 2018 12:01:49 PM

Correcting and preventing problems are two of the most important things that any organization can do. That’s the driving force behind the increasing interest in CAPA (Corrective Action/Preventative Action) software. If you’ve decided to invest in technology to support your improvement efforts, you have many options. This post will give you some guidance on what to look for and how to get your implementation off to a fantastic start.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Change Management Software, Continuous Improvement Software

The Experts Weigh in on the Biggest Hoshin Kanri Mistakes

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 31, 2018 7:11:00 AM

Hoshin Kanri is a popular approach to strategic planning and deployment. It provides a roadmap to achieving an organization’s most important three to five-year objectives, while at the same time achieving continuous, daily improvement.

(If the approach is new to you, start here for the background.)

While the Hoshin Kanri methodology is relatively straightforward, there are a few common errors that send it off the rails. We’ve looked to the literature to see what the experts have to say about each frequent mistake. Hopefully this post will help you avoid or correct them. (It will also make a handy reading list.)

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

10 Ways to Build a Culture that Supports CQI

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 30, 2018 9:42:19 AM

The dictionary defines corporate culture as, “The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” Every organization has a culture whether or not leaders think about it or try to shape it. But smart executives know that culture is a crucial (if not the most important) ingredient for success. Leaders who are dedicated to the practice of continuous quality improvement (CQI) should understand the role that culture plays and actively work to shape it. Here are ten best practices for creating a culture in which CQI can thrive.

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Topics: Quality, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

8 Valuable Lean and Six Sigma Tools To Try

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 25, 2018 10:45:00 AM

Six Sigma is a business management methodology that leverages a scientific approach to quality measurement with the aim of reducing variation and defects. The method was pioneered by Motorola and Allied Signal and then made famous by GE who boasted $10 billion in savings during the first years of implementation.

Lean is another methodology, philosophy, tool set, and management system that also uses a scientific problem solving approach, and more. "Lean" is a generic term that was given to the Toyota Production System, or TPS. The two pillars of TPS are usually described as "just in time flow" and "quality at the source."

Lean and Six Sigma are often used together by organizations in multiple industries, bringing methods and mindsets from each approach.

Many frameworks exist for implementing the methodologies. Many of those tools can be useful to organizations whether or not they fully embrace the Lean or Six Sigma approaches. Here are a few that our customers have found most valuable.

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Methodology

Common Questions About the DMAIC Improvement Cycle

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 23, 2018 8:11:00 AM

DMAIC is said to be the Six Sigma methodology’s roadmap to improvement. It is one of the core tools of the approach, 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 this technique. Here are some of the questions we get asked about it most often.

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Process, DMAIC

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