According to continuous improvement practitioner Jess Orr, A3 thinking is like exercise: we know it’s good for us, but sometimes it’s hard to be disciplined. Understanding how to use A3 thinking in our everyday lives is the topic of the webinar Orr recently hosted with KaiNexus.
Jul 6, 2018 7:42:00 AM
One thing that we like to remind our clients who are implementing the Hoshin Kanri method of strategy deployment is that most of your employees have probably been through strategic planning exercises before.
Even more likely, they’ve probably watched management go through an annual planning drill and then present the scheme to the rest of the organization like Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments.
That means that the first order of business needs to be convincing the team that this is an entirely different approach that will have a meaningful impact on how work gets done. For that reason, it is necessary to have a solid plan for introducing Hoshin Kanri to the organization.
Here are a few of the things that we’ve seen work very well.
May 4, 2018 7:42:00 AM
Trust is crucial to collaboration. Open body language and candid communication invite others to be vulnerable, which can help all parties learn from one another and improve.
Does that sound appealing?
We think so too.
KaiNexus discussed a number of strategies for driving collaboration in a webinar with Teresa Hay McMahon, Executive Director of the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC), and Stephanie Hill, Corporate Continuous Improvement Manager at ILC member organization Kreg Tool.
The ILC is a connector rather than a provider, with roughly 120 member organizations across various industries and sectors. The nonprofit promotes the three following strategies to facilitate rapid, open relationship building:
- Networking – exchanging information with another person for business purposes (either short- or long-term)
- Benchmarking – holding another business up as a standard for comparison so you can improve your product or strategy
- Collaborating – working with another person or business toward a definite end goal
These strategies can be leveraged to enhance performance and drive continuous improvement. In this post, we are going to focus on collaboration across industries.
Mar 28, 2018 7:11:00 AM
Organizations of all types across the globe have adopted the Lean management approach to business. Lean management got its start in automobile manufacturing in Japan, but today it is used by hospitals, software companies, retailers, and even construction firms. Improvement management software is not a requirement to practice Lean, but as with any process, structure and visualization can increase the odds of success.
Our goal today is to lay out precisely what a Lean management system is and share some of the reasons that you might consider investing in one.
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.
Presented by Jess Orr
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:
Feb 14, 2018 6:26:00 AM
When people ask me about my job and I explain that my company offers Lean software, people who know anything about the Lean business management methodology usually assume that all of our customers are manufacturers. That’s not an unreasonable assumption given Lean’s origins in the Japanese automobile industry, but it’s also not true. We have customers in all sort of industries from banking to non-profit. We have clients in industries ranging from logistics and financial services companies to construction companies and hospitals.
Dec 6, 2017 7:02:00 AM
Do you remember the last time you were injured? Like, physically injured? What about the last time one of your kids or siblings got hurt? What did you do? Did you wait a few days to see if the injury went away? Did you fight away the tears and walk around on your freshly-sprained ankle? Did you continue to write with a broken index finger?
Mar 27, 2017 7:16:00 AM
March madness is in full swing, and we’re not going to lie. We’ve got basketball on the brain. The level of talent and dedication that players display even when they don’t win the game is truly inspiring. As spectators, we see the game. What we don’t see are the countless hours of practice, the sacrifice, the workouts, the strategy sessions, and all of the other hard work that goes into competing at this level. We’re impressed.
A Kaizen event is a bit like a basketball game. In order to win in basketball, there are some things you need to do during the game, but also a bunch of stuff that needs to happen off the court. The same is true for completing a successful Kaizen event. You must strive for great execution while the event is in progress, but much of the work happens before it begins and after it ends. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind if you want your next event to be as easy as an uncontested layup.
Learn the Fundamentals
Some ball players are born with a ton of talent, but even they need to learn the basic fundamentals of the game. Your team may be very good at problem-solving, but if they have never participated in a Kaizen event, or if it has been a while, it is important to provide training and open communication. They should understand why Kaizen events are used, how they are structured, and what to expect before, during, and after.
Mar 3, 2017 11:52:39 AM
All my life, I’ve been an avid basketball fan. In my younger days, some would say I was a decent player, though many moons have passed since then. Every time we stepped on the court, one of my team’s goals was to get into a “rhythm.”
The dictionary definition of rhythm is “a regular, repeated pattern of beats, sounds, activity, or movements.” For any non-sports aficionado reading this, imagine a group of individuals working together to achieve a common goal. Each person in this group is moving fluidly through their individual responsibilities, and the entire group’s activities are synced together in unison; much like a choir singing beautiful four-part harmony.
On the basketball court, our goal was to create that same harmony, except using movement instead of sound. If we could accomplish that, we could predict what events were about to transpire and act accordingly.
When a basketball team creates a rhythm they commit fewer turnovers, increase the percentage of shots made, make more efficient use of their time on the court, and execute as close to flawless as human nature will allow. Now, you can’t ever be perfect, but being in a rhythm allows you to improve the small factors of the game, and those factors add up to victories.
Feb 1, 2017 12:04:24 PM
As a sales executive for KaiNexus, I speak with Lean leaders and continuous improvement gurus daily. Most of them are excited about continuous improvement, but they are frustrated with the lack of supporting technology. However, once they decide to solve the technology problem, they face a new challenge - getting a new tool or platform approved and purchased. This is called the Buyer’s Journey, and it’s a foreign concept for so many people.
The first three steps in most of my customer engagements are pretty standard and go something like this:
- A discovery call to determine goals and see if KaiNexus can help
- A technical demonstration showing how their improvement efforts/language/docs would look in KaiNexus
- A proposal and a discussion in what we call a “quote review”
From there it can get murky because the steps that follow are almost never the same. Some decisions are quick and some take time…Some decisions involve multiple departments and require validation from many different people while some can be made by just one person… Some organizations simply sign an order form and start an experiment, or – and this is my least favorite – some never speak to us again.