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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

Considering Change Management Software? Don’t Overlook Reporting.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Apr 10, 2018 1:00:44 PM

If you are in the market for change management software, we’d like to help. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is what to look for in a change management and improvement platform. Most people know the basics of what they need but aren’t completely versed in all the possible capabilities that technology might bring. We find that it is common for people to be so concerned with getting data into a software solution that they don’t place enough emphasis on getting data out. However, measuring and reporting on the impact of change is central to the success of a culture of continuous improvement.

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Topics: Change Management Software

Why is Hoshin Kanri so Valuable?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Mar 30, 2018 8:12:00 AM

The practice of Hoshin Kanri, also called Policy Deployment or Strategy deployment, is about the alignment of individual goals and performance measurement with the company goals and mission. It is rare to find a management practice that has the potential for so much impact at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels of an organization, but Hoshin Kanri does. In fact, some experts believe that Hoshin Kanri is the single most important responsibility of senior management.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

The Pros AND Cons of Digital Kanban Boards

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Mar 1, 2018 3:19:03 PM

If you’ve read this blog before or poked around our website a bit, you know that our continuous improvement software solution includes digital Kanban boards. For that reason, you may think it is odd that we’ve written a post that includes discussion about the downside of the very tool we provide.

But Kanban software is like about everything else in life; you weigh the advantages and disadvantages and go with the approach that comes in on top. Then you try to minimize the problems as much as possible.

We think the benefits of electronic Kanban boards far outweigh the challenges, but we think it’s right to lay both on the table.

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How Software Amplifies the Impact of Kaizen

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jan 15, 2018 12:08:44 PM

In 1986, Masaaki Imai founded the Kaizen Institute Consulting Group (KICG) to help western companies to introduce the concepts, systems, and tools of Kaizen. That year, in Japan he also published the book “Kaizen: Japanese spirit of improvement," which helped to popularize the Kaizen concept in the United States. He believed that “The message of the Kaizen strategy is that not a day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere in the company.”

Most leaders would likely agree with that sentiment, but it is certainly easier said than done. In order to achieve daily improvement, there must be a structure for both supporting and measuring it. Without visibility into the work of Kaizen, leaders can’t say whether daily improvement is happening, nor can they take action to accelerate the pace of positive change. Fortunately, Kaizen software provides this insight and offers other significant advantages as well.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

How Hoshin Kanri Attacks 9 Tough Improvement Challenges

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 19, 2017 2:28:54 PM

Hoshin Kanri is a management technique designed to steer an organization towards its most important long-term goals without sacrificing the need to practice continuous improvement. If you are unfamiliar with the approach, we have some detailed information that will be useful. (Click here, here, and here.)

In short, the words "Hoshin Kanri" are usually interpreted as direction (setting) management. Much like a compass pointed toward true north, the Hoshin approach to strategic planning defines where the organization is headed. The core idea is that the best way to obtain the desired result is to make sure every person in the organization knows the long-term vision and that they are all working a defined plan to make it happen. Key processes must be monitored to ensure that the day-to-day operation of the organization continues to improve, so it must be noted that Hoshin planning is about both direction and control.

If you are wondering exactly how Hoshin Kanri can help, this blog is for you. We’ve been lucky enough to work with organizations of all types that use the Hoshin way of strategy deployment to successfully overcome some of the most difficult (and common) barriers to operational alignment and daily improvement. Here are the ones we run into most often.

[Watch Now] Cascading Strategy Through Hoshin Kanri

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

Rolling Out Hoshin Kanri in 2018? Here Are Our Top Tips.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 29, 2017 7:19:00 AM

Hoshin Kanri is a powerful strategic planning tool because it helps align the organization top to bottom around breakthrough objectives. It lets leaders take the long view with a three to five-year plan, but addresses the need to have short-term goals as well. Our clients that use the approach find that it makes decision making easier and speeds the way to consensus. Here are a few best practices that they have uncovered along the way.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Strategy Deployment

The Impact of Prescription Drug Price-Gouging on the Quality of Healthcare in the U.S.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 15, 2017 6:41:00 AM

You know how, when you’re at the doctor and they’re filling out a prescription for you, they ask which pharmacy you use? The implication is that you always use the same pharmacy, presumably because it’s more convenient than the others.

The problem is, you have no way to know how much the drugs cost at each pharmacy while standing in the doctor’s office. You have to go home and research - and when you’re sick, that’s the last thing you want to do.

Why aren’t these prescriptions a standard price? How come you can get something filled for $20 one month and it’s suddenly $140 the next - unless you call around, in which case you might find that it’s $10 somewhere else?

I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of the continuous improvement software company KaiNexus, but I’m also a practicing ER doctor in Austin, Texas (my employees lovingly refer to KaiNexus as my side-hustle). As a result of my medical background and experience in this area, I have an interest in the impact of continuous improvement (or lack thereof) in the healthcare industry.

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with my friend Colby Evans, MD, a dermatologist here in Texas, when he started talking about the problems with drug delivery and pricing in the US. I immediately started forming connections in my mind between what he was saying about the industry and what I know to be true about quality, improvement, and patient care - and I knew I just had to get him on the KaiNexus podcast to talk about this with me.

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The Meaning of Hoshin Kanri: What, Why, and How

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 8, 2017 6:09:00 AM

We are fortunate enough to get to spend a lot of time chatting with customers and other organizations that are interested in continuous improvement about how they approach the need for constant positive change.

Many techniques that are used in the Lean and Six Sigma management approaches come up during these conversations, but one which seems to be less understood than many others is Hoshin Kanri.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

How A3 Software Supports Problem Solving

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Oct 16, 2017 11:20:59 AM

The A3 approach is a brilliantly simple problem-solving technique. It is based on the PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Adjust) improvement cycle and is a systematic method for solving problems on a single piece of paper. This one-pager of A3 size (11 X 17), is how A3 got its name.

 

The Benefits of the A3 Technique

A3 is popular with Six Sigma and Lean management practitioners and others who are interested in continuous improvement. Organizations benefit from A3 because it:

  • Creates a consistent approach to solving problems throughout the entire organization
  • Requires a balanced way of thinking both visually and analytically (Right Brain/Left Brain)
  • Reduces complexity and keeps focus on the problem
  • Generates alignment and consensus
  • Provides a visual representation of data that is easy for everyone to understand
  • Short circuits the temptation to jump to conclusions and implement improvements without due consideration

 

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

Real Life Examples of the 7 Wastes of Lean

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Oct 13, 2017 12:05:32 PM

Eliminating waste is at the heart of the Lean Business methodology.  The goal of Lean is to spend more of your time creating value for customers by reducing or eliminating everything else - the waste. Several common types of waste have been identified and together represent the “7 Wastes of Lean” (sometimes expressed as "8 types of waste, including the additional "waste of human potential" or "waste of talent").

Some types of waste are fairly self-explanatory, but others can be a bit difficult to grasp. Here are some practical examples of each.

 

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Topics: Lean

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