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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Kaizen and the Art of Kintsugi: Redefining Perfection

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 21, 2019 1:05:48 PM

As regular readers of this blog know, many of the ideas and practices that guide the modern continuous improvement movement have their origins in Japanese philosophy and culture. Today’s leaders talk about kaizen (improvement), hoshin kanri (direction setting), and kanban (visual management) regularly. Recently, while scrolling through my Instagram feed of all things, I was struck by another Japanese concept that deserves some thought in the business context as well – the art of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi which translates to “golden journey” and is also known as Kintsukurio (golden repair) is the art of repairing broken pottery by joining the broken pieces with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. No attempt is made to hide the repair; in fact, the technique highlights it. The repair becomes part of the history of the object. The object is not beautiful despite the fact that it was broken, it is more beautiful because it was broken.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Kaizen

13 Essential Process Improvement Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 16, 2019 8:59:37 AM

After many years speaking with leaders and managers looking to implement continuous process improvement tools in their organizations, we’ve learned a few things. The first is that every organization is different and what scores a home run for one, may not even get a hit in another. The second is that despite these differences, many of the process improvement tools that have been developed over the last 50 years can be adapted to be useful for organizations of all types and sizes.

This post provides a brief introduction to some of the process improvement tools that our customers have used to reduce costs, improve safety, assure quality, and increase customer satisfaction. For each tool, we've included a link to more detailed information. Many are borrowed from the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, but you don’t have to be using one of them to find value in these techniques.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Setting Up Your Balanced Scorecards in KaiNexus

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 15, 2019 2:13:00 PM

A balanced scorecard is an easy way to see the progress toward department and organizational goals and KPIs. Without KaiNexus, you’ll need a balanced scorecard for each level of the organization, departments, and teams. Put a balanced scorecard in KaiNexus, however, and you’ll be able to view any part of the organization’s goals, projects, and progress to KPIs in an instant.

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The Motivation-Hygiene Theory of Employee Engagement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 15, 2019 8:54:35 AM

It is relatively common for people to use the terms “employee engagement,” and “employee satisfaction,” interchangeably, although we have never been comfortable with that framing, especially when it comes to software. 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

French Fries and the Culture Imperative

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 8, 2019 8:32:00 AM

“Culture isn’t just on aspect of the game – it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” Lou Gerstner Jr. – IBM.

These days it is a little bit embarrassing to admit that I eat fast food from time to time, but there you have it. I like French fries, and I cannot lie. And as everyone knows, McDonald's French fries are objectively the best. One of the founding principles of McDonald’s was that the food would taste the same no matter which location you visit. I’d say they have generally achieved this aim even though most locations are franchises run by hundreds of different owners across the country.

But while the food is relatively consistent, the quality of customer service is not. The employees from one McDonalds to another are paid about the same. The employees come from the same labor market. The functional job requirements are the same. So why do some locations operate efficiently with friendly and engaged employees, while others have workers who are indifferent?

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Operational Excellence

The Lean Linchpin: Middle Managers

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 29, 2019 3:07:21 PM

A linchpin is a fastener passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position. The term is also used figuratively, according to Wikipedia, to describe, “something [or someone] that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.” What an apt description of the role of middle managers in a Lean environment.

When we talk about the Lean business management approach or just continuous improvement in general, we often say that it involves everyone from the CEO to front line workers. In the literature about Lean, a lot of emphasis is put on what top leaders need to do to create a culture of improvement. There’s also much discussion about how to keep operational workers involved and engaged. Both are essential, but it is a huge mistake to underestimate the role of middle management.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership, Daily Lean Management

How’s Your Lean Software Implementation Working Out?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 23, 2019 3:35:55 PM

We’re not going to lie. Implementing any kind of software solution in an organization is not easy. First, you must make sure you select a solution that will actually help address whatever challenge is at hand. Then you have to get it implemented and work out the kinks (there are always kinks). You have to get users trained, and then you face the biggest hurdle of them all – getting people to use the system. Sometimes it all goes smoothly, but challenges are not uncommon.

If you’ve implemented Lean software, you’ve probably faced a few. This post will help you access whether your Lean technology has taken root and give you some ideas for boosting adoption if that’s what’s needed.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

2 Popular Process Improvement Methodologies Explained

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 19, 2019 8:41:00 AM

The world’s most successful organizations are relentless in their quest for flawless processes and perfect execution. The ability to reliably produce quality outcomes with minimal waste is elusive but achievable with the right leadership and attention. That’s why many organizations turn to proven process improvement methodologies and techniques.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement Software

How to Navigate the Transformation Continuum | Webinar Recap

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 18, 2019 8:31:00 AM

We have been very fortunate to have an impressive lineup of guest presenters for our webinar series on continuous improvement. Roger Chen from Indiana University Health did not disappoint when he joined us to discuss how to navigate the transformation continuum. Roger has over 30 years of experience in various improvement and leadership roles. He spent time at General Electric where he reached the level of a Six Sigma master black belt. As GE embraced Lean, Roger became a senior Lean value stream manager. Subsequently, he has lead transformation and improvement roles at Martin Memorial Health System, Lee Health, and now Indiana University Health (IU Health).

How to Navigate the Transformation Continuum

Presented by Roger Chen

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In this webinar, Roger Chen, Executive Director of Lean Transformation at IU Health, shares "lessons from the field" based on his experiences in healthcare (and previously in industry).

You will learn how to identify the phases of the Transformation Continuum and adaptation of rapid improvement and project management methods to standardize efficiency and spread effectiveness -- applicable for any setting!

 

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Topics: Webinars

5 Pillars of an Effective Employee Engagement Strategy

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 17, 2019 12:42:47 PM

When we sit down with a prospective client, we find it is very important to understand the challenges the organization is facing and their long-term goals before we start talking about our solution. One of the themes that come up, again and again, is employee engagement, or lack thereof. What we often find is that leaders and managers implement all sorts of employee engagement activities, but they rarely have a well-crafted, cohesive plan for maximizing the human potential of their workforce. Our clients who have done it successfully have found five key elements that are essential to an effective approach.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition

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