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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Jake Sussman

Jake Sussman is the Director of Customer Experience at KaiNexus. He enjoys working with customers, helping them get the most out of the KaiNexus platform while building cultures of continuous improvement. When he's not at work, Jake enjoys playing golf and spending time with his wife and one year old son.
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Recent Posts

What Exactly IS a Kanban Board?

Posted by Jake Sussman

Aug 17, 2017 7:05:00 AM

If you’ve watched our recent webinar, Taking Improvement Boards Digital: How Leading Companies are Improving Visual Management, or been reading our posts about the same, you would have heard the term “Kanban board” used. While it’s great to hear that KaiNexus software supports digital Kanban boards, it’s even better if you have a clear understanding what a Kanban board is, and how it can help you on your continuous improvement journey. Here’s the rundown:

What is Kanban?

We’ve written a longer primer on Kanban here, but the important thing to know is that it is a visual system for monitoring the flow of work from the start, as we build a backlog, move work into in-process (while hopefully limiting WIP), and complete this work.

Visualization works so well because our brains interpret visual information far faster than data or text. By reducing complex material down to visual components and putting them together, managers and staff can get an overview of the whole workflow system in seconds rather than the hours it might take to track down information in every area, work through it, and synthesize it down into conclusions that can be shared.

The term Kanban literally translates from Japanese to mean “signboard” or “visual signal," so one of the key components of Kanban is, of course, visualization, which is why Kanban boards are really the heart of Kanban in modern use.

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Webinar Preview: How to Leverage Lean for Long-Term Success

Posted by Jake Sussman

Aug 4, 2017 7:03:00 AM

There are lots of reasons to subscribe to the KaiNexus blog, but one of the best ones is that you get a heads up about all upcoming webinars. Today I'm excited to announce that on August 10, we'll be hearing from Warren Stokes of Honor Health about How to Leverage Lean for Long-Term Success Under Short-Term Pressures.

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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Digital Huddle Board

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jun 12, 2017 11:58:46 AM

Whether you are new to huddle boards or have decided it’s time to move yours from the wall into the cloud, we offer you congratulations. Digital huddle boards are an excellent way to organize and track improvement projects. They have the potential to increase the number of completed improvements and to help you prove how valuable this effort is to the organization.

Selecting the right solution is critical, but it can be tricky. Lots of solutions can claim to fill the role of a huddle board, but very few are designed specifically for that purpose with all of the features and capabilities needed to really get the most out of the approach.

If you are looking for a solution, here are some of the questions you might ask and the answers you should expect.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Free eBook Download: An Introduction to Continuous Improvement Software

Posted by Jake Sussman

May 11, 2017 7:04:00 AM

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you're probably aware by now that we produce a lot of educational material about continuous improvement methodologies, leadership, engagement strategies, and how to spread an improvement culture. We have a regular webinar series, producing new videos a couple of times per month, we have a set of awesome educational videos discussing best practices for continuous improvement and a library of eBooks we've written on these topics.

Today's blog post is an excerpt from our latest eBook, An Introduction to Continuous Improvement Software.

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To read the full eBook, download it free here:

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

Big Hairy Audacious Results: Why a BHAG May Be One of Your Best Tools for Continuous Improvement.

Posted by Jake Sussman

May 4, 2017 7:05:00 AM

We’re not saying that your CEO needs shave his or her head, but depending on your organization’s improvement goals (and your executive’s attachment to their locks) it might be a great idea!

To explain, back in 2016 KaiNexus set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, known as a BHAG. A BHAG is a daunting, clear, and compelling goal an organization sets, which should not be financially driven, but it should be something that, if the organization achieves it, would really move the needle forward and indicate the organization has accomplished something.

Jim Collins coined the term BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) in his book Built to Last, which he coauthored with Jerry Porras. As Collins explains on his website jimcollins.com unlike a mission statement, a BHAG is a powerful mechanism to stimulate progress.

“All companies have goals. But there is a difference between merely having a goal and becoming committed to a huge, daunting challenge,” Collins explains on his website. “A true BHAG is clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effort– often creating immense team spirit.  It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.”

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An Overview of DMAIC for Beginners

Posted by Jake Sussman

Apr 19, 2017 7:01:00 AM

DMAIC (pronounced də-MAY-ick) is a data-driven technique used to improve processes. It is a key tool of the Six Sigma methodology, but it can be implemented as a standalone improvement method or as part of other process initiatives like Lean.

The technique is simple, yet powerful. It brings structure to the improvement process and helps teams explore potential solutions, decide a course of action, and implement process controls in short order.

Trying any new improvement strategy can be intimidating, so we thought it would be helpful to break down all the details of DMAIC so that you can give it a try with confidence.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

Lean Leadership & Sustainment Q&A

Posted by Jake Sussman

Apr 11, 2017 7:30:00 AM

KaiNexus has a webinar series called Ask Us Anything, in which our CEO and Co-founder Greg Jacobson and Mark Graban, our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org, join forces to answer questions KaiNexus webinar listeners ask.

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Get Your Lean Management System Off to the Right Start

Posted by Jake Sussman

Apr 7, 2017 10:20:48 AM

The first few months of the implementation of any technology or management system are crucial to success. This is doubly true for many Lean management system deployments because often organizations are introducing the Lean approach and the technology to support it at the same time. Over the years, our customers have shared with us some of their best advice for rolling out a solution that will be adopted by employees and effective at speeding the pace of positive change. Here’s what they recommend.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Turning a Project Management Office & Continuous Improvement into an Innovation Team

Posted by Jake Sussman

Mar 8, 2017 8:19:00 AM

We love highlighting Lean success stories here at KaiNexus and so we were very excited when Erin Edwards, Continuous Improvement Manager at Four Seasons Produce agreed to host a webinar with us to highlight their success turning a Project Management Office (PMO) into an “Innovation Team.” Edwards is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with experience in both project management and continuous improvement and had been working with Four Seasons Produce for about five years when the webinar took place.

The webinar, Turning Continuous Improvement and a PMO into an Innovation Team, was hosted by our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services, and founder of LeanBlog.org, Mark Graban. You can watch the full recorded webinar here. 

Four Seasons Produce is a full-service wholesale distributor and supplier of fresh organic, local, and conventional produce, which they supply to organic markets, food co-ops, independent retailers, chain stores, juice bars, and other produce buyers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

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Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, Four Seasons Produce is growing; its 262,000 square foot warehouse in Ephrata Pennsylvania underwent a major expansion last year, which added space to both the warehouse and truck garages for their vehicle fleet.  

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Topics: Customer Testimonials, Webinars

Continuous Improvement in Higher Education

Posted by Jake Sussman

Feb 7, 2017 8:20:00 AM

An increasing number of institutes of higher education are introducing the principles of Lean and other continuous improvement methodologies in order to improve efficiency and operational effectiveness. This might be surprising - even a bit controversial - in a sector that doesn’t produce products per se, but the underlying principles of respect for people, incremental change, and the elimination of processes and activities that do not add value absolutely have a place in an educational environment. In higher education, there is an interesting coalition of students, faculty, administrators, public officials and potential employers that all have a stake in achieving the best possible outcomes.

Continuous improvement principles and practices can be applied to both academic services and administrative processes. It is an effective way to address new demands on colleges and universities including responding to heightened expectations and reigning in rising costs. Organizations may have a cohesive approach to improvement across the institution or they may choose to implement programs at the department or unit level.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement