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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Greg Jacobson

Greg Jacobson is the Chief Product Officer and a co-founder of KaiNexus. He is an ER doctor that is fanatical about the single biggest barrier holding companies back from greatness - their lack of continuous improvement work. It has taken him down the path of developing KaiNexus. He also loves pickles, playing squash, and hanging out with his insanely awesome wife and daughter.
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Recent Posts

The Perfect Template for Planning Your Kaizen Event

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 4, 2018 8:11:00 AM

Kaizen events, also called Rapid Improvement Events, involve a team dedicating all of their energy for three to five days on solving a specific challenge or implementing targeted improvements. They are resource intensive, but effective tools for organizations that are dedicated to consistent and constant improvement.

Because they are so quick and consuming, it is essential to be well prepared. In fact, planning for the event should get as much care and attention as the event itself. Our clients who have been successful with event planning have found that it helps to have a standard pre-event template that can be used every time a Kaizen event occurs. This ensures that everyone is using the same standards and that the essential boxes are checked. The best improvement management software solutions allow you to set up your Kaizen Event Templates within the system to make it easy for everyone to access and report relevant information.

Of course, each organization is different, but here are the elements that we recommend considering when you set up your rapid improvement templates.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

What's an Idea Worth? The ROI of Continuous Improvement

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 26, 2018 9:53:43 AM

As a company providing continuous improvement software to organizations of all sizes around the world in a wide variety of industries, we're in the unique position of seeing how successful companies manage improvement, how they engage their employees, and the impact they achieve through top-down projects, bottom-up improvements, and strategy deployment. 

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Topics: ROI of KaiNexus

The Bedrock Principles of Continuous Quality Management

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 1, 2018 8:11:00 AM

Continuous quality management (CQM) does not look the same in every organization. Some practice CQM as part of a business management philosophy like Lean or Six Sigma, while others implement it on its own. There are a bunch of tools and techniques that support CQM such as Gemba Walks, Catchball, and DMAIC that may or may not be used. However, there are some core principles that tie successful continuous quality management organizations together. They form the basis for the approach and are indispensable.

Quality Management is About Process Management

When you break it down, organizations are made up of hundreds, if not thousands of interlocking processes. The quality of the products or services that are delivered to external and internal customers alike is dependent on the quality of those processes. The financial health of the organization is dependent to a large extent on the efficiency of those processes. If you focus on the processes one at a time, you can fundamentally change the game and deal with the challenges facing your organization.

Quality management is not about placing blame on people. W. Edwards Deming believed that the system was responsible for 97% of the problems. The downside to simply blaming a person when quality standards are not met is that it prevents leaders investigating a bit more to find a root cause finding solutions that improve the performance of all the workers. If a worker makes a mistake, it is essential to ask why and find the process conditions that made the error possible.

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Topics: Quality, Spread Continuous Improvement

The Lean Healthcare Code

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 26, 2018 9:02:00 AM

One of the exciting things about the Lean management approach is that it is applied differently in every industry and organization. While it got its start in manufacturing, healthcare organizations have significantly benefited by using the same principles and practices with modifications. The exact tools and methods may vary from one organization to another, but there are a few core doctrines that Lean healthcare organizations all have in common. Together, they form a way of thinking that transforms organizations and changes the behavior of employees at every level of the org chart.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

What is Lean Healthcare?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 19, 2018 3:09:00 PM

Lean healthcare is simply the use of the Lean business management philosophy in healthcare facilities. The goal of Lean is to reduce or eliminate waste in every procedure, process, and activity by applying the principals of continuous improvement. When an organization becomes Lean, there is an impact on every team member from operations and administrative staff and even clinicians. Everyone is tasked with identifying ways to eliminate any task or expense that does not add value for patients.

Why are members of the healthcare industry applying a business approach that got its start in manufacturing? According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, national health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5 percent per year for 2017-26 and to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026. That rate of growth is simply unsustainable under existing conditions. A widespread shift in thinking and a sharp focus on customer value is necessary to keep the already overtaxed system from collapsing under increasing weight.
One change in thinking that is already becoming evident is the focus on growing more customer-centric and developing solutions that increase customer satisfaction while maintaining profitability. That’s where Lean’s focus on eliminating waste comes in. The central question, “Does this provide value for the customer,” is asked by every member of the organization, ensuring organizational alignment and consistent decision making.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

How to Craft and Implement a Strategy Deployment Plan

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 14, 2018 8:54:00 AM

One of the most essential responsibilities of leaders is making sure that activities are driven by the strategic goals and objectives of the organization. Strategy deployment, also known as Hoshin Kanri or Policy Deployment is a technique for doing exactly that. The purpose is to ensure clear communications and consistent direction so that everyone is aligned and working toward the most critical breakthrough goals, often called True North. When successful, the strategy, day-to-day tactics, and operations are all in lockstep. The strategic deployment plan also serves as a feedback loop with key performance indicators coming from the bottom up.

Getting the most out of a strategy deployment plan requires preparation and active management. There are four critical stages to consider.

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Topics: Strategy Deployment

How to Establish a Foundation for Process Improvement in Healthcare

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 5, 2018 7:43:00 AM

It seems like every other day or so, I come across an article detailing how the American health care system is “broken.” These articles are usually focused on things like escalating costs, rising drug prices, problems with the Affordable Care Act, and other large-scale systemic issues. Finding the billion-dollar idea to solve any of that just isn’t realistic, but healthcare leaders can make a substantial impact on their organizations, improve conditions for employees, and secure better healthcare outcomes for patients by focusing on daily process improvement. Small positive changes might not make headlines, but they can save significant dollars or maybe even lives.

For a culture of improvement to thrive in any healthcare organization, it is necessary to develop a solid foundation by putting the essential principles of process improvement to work.

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The Best Alternative to a Kanban Board in Excel

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 16, 2018 7:37:00 AM

Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used applications on the planet. I know exactly why. It’s amazingly flexible, most people know how to use its core features, and almost everyone already has it installed on their computer.

What’s not to love?

When it comes to digitizing your Kanban board, there is a lot not to love about Excel.

Here are the main problems with using Excel for Kanban:

  • No matter how expertly you’ve designed your spreadsheet, it is still a passive artifact. It won’t notify your team when tasks or due or deadlines are missed.
  • Spreadsheets are easily broken. If you lock it down enough to protect it, it loses value. If you don’t, formulas can be messed up or data can be lost.
  • Version control is a nightmare.
  • There’s no support for collaboration.
  • Using a tool that you already have doesn’t signal a commitment to improvement.


So if for these reasons or others, you’ve decided to dump the spreadsheet approach to Kanban, good for you! Now what? When you start your search for an alternative to your Kanban board in Excel, we hope you’ll start with KaiNexus, but no matter what solution you consider, make sure it has these key capabilities.

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Topics: Kanban

Engaging Leaders & the Baldrige Framework to Advance Excellence [WEBINAR]

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 3, 2018 7:14:00 AM

Mary Greeley Medical Center is a 220-bed acute care hospital in Ames, Iowa. It’s also a leading facility in continuous improvement. 

KaiNexus recently joined forces with Karen Kiel Rosser, Vice President of Quality at Mary Greeley Medical Center, and Ron Smith, the hospital’s Process Improvement Coordinator, to discuss the role the Baldrige Excellence Framework has played in their organization. You can access the full webinar here.

Keys to Success at Mary Greeley

The Baldrige Excellence Framework empowers organizations to achieve their goals, enhance their results, and become more competitive. At Mary Greeley, daily improvement programs consist of three stages:

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The Benefits of Using an X-Matrix for Strategy Deployment

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jul 19, 2018 8:11:00 AM

Hoshin Kanri (sometimes called "strategy deployment") is an approach that helps companies achieve breakthrough goals over a three- to five-year time horizon.

The methodology is effective because it allows leaders to keep their eye on the long-term objectives that will change the game, without losing sight of the day-to-day improvements that can add up to significant benefits.

However, we won’t lie. Effective strategy deployment isn’t easy.

Too often, the strategic plan gets lip service, but little else. If you are looking for help making sure that your organization arrives at “True North,” an X-Matrix might help.

 

X-Matrix Design

X-Matrices are visualization tool made up of five sections. The layout of the matrix helps define the relationships between each of them.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Strategy Deployment

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