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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Jeff Roussel

As the Vice President of Sales at KaiNexus, Jeff Roussel is responsible for all aspects of sales and leads. He is fanatical about building a team that demonstrates the business value and fit of the KaiNexus solutions. With more than 15 years of sales and leadership experience in enterprise software, Jeff brings a wealth of guidance to our growing company and market. Prior to KaiNexus, Jeff was one of the first enterprise directors at Spredfast, helping organizations create great social media experiences for their customers. Previously, he was a sales engineer and an account executive at Invodo and Postini, the latter of which was acquired by Google in 2007. Jeff also maintains a position on the board of advisors for the Austin-based social media agency Social Distillery. A Texan by choice, Jeff maintains his Louisiana roots with a love of cooking, and he spends his free time with his wife and three step-kids. Jeff has an MBA from St. Edwards University in Austin and a bachelor of science from LSU.
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Recent Posts

Gemba Walk Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 18, 2020 12:25:20 PM

Gemba Walks are an important part of many continuous improvement initiatives. They are designed to offer leaders the opportunity to observe work and talk with employees in the place where the work is being done, and it provides insight into current processes and opportunities for improvement.

Although some companies are still primarily remote right now, it's important that you continue to utilize this valuable improvement tool. There are ways to adapt the Gemba walking technique to support a virtual environment. For example, incorporate video conferencing to replace the typical face-to-face interaction. When your team sees you on video, they know that they have your undivided attention. You can find additional tips on how and why to walk the Gemba when everyone is working form home here.

Whether your Gemba Walks are virtual or in person, there are a few best practices to follow and a few pitfalls to avoid.

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Topics: Lean

The Interviewer’s Guide to Hiring for a Kaizen Culture

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 16, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Organizations that practice kaizen work hard to maintain a culture centered around continuous improvement. The best defense against push back and poor engagement is hiring only those employees who are likely to thrive in a culture of positive change.

Ideally, the conversation about continuous improvement will begin the moment a candidate is considered. Talking about the principles of kaizen during the interview will show the potential hire how important it is to the organization. The right questions can help you identify those who will do well in your organization and those who should look elsewhere.

Here are a few questions that will give you insight into how the candidate thinks.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture

4 Principles of Kanban

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 5, 2020 6:02:25 PM

We tend to think of just-in-time manufacturing as a relatively new concept. Dell builds your PC when you order it but does it quickly, so you are satisfied with the speed of delivery. Plus, Dell never has excess PC inventory on its hands. However, the idea is not new at all. In the 1940’s, Toyota began applying the principal to its production lines after taking a lesson from an unexpected place: the grocery store.

Shopping for Parts

Although situations at grocery stores are a little different now with the COVID-19 pandemic, the grocery store metaphor can still help breakdown the idea of Kanban (pronounced kahn-bahn).

When you go to the grocery store, it's rare to find an empty shelf. In the rare times you do, the shelves don’t stay empty for long. The reason is that the store has both the inventory on the shelf and some inventory in their own on-site warehouse. Grocery stores don’t want to stock more of an item than will be sold in a short enough time to ensure that the items are fresh and to reduce inventory costs. So, when a shelf is depleted, it is refilled from the on-site inventory and only then are new items ordered from the manufacturer to replace the warehouse products. This process is efficient and cost-effective for the store, and also reassuring to customers who can buy only what they need without fear of a future shortage of a favored product.

Toyota realized that the same principal would work for items needed on its manufacturing floor. They further enhanced the idea by adding Kanban cards, which served as a visual signal of the state of inventory. In fact, the word Kanban when translated directly means, "signboard, shopkeeper's in-business sign.” The approach can be applied to any business process, so its use is not limited to the manufacturing of hard goods.

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Topics: Kaizen

Avoiding the 8 Wastes of Lean While Working from Home

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 27, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Millions of workers across the globe have suddenly transitioned to working from home. There are many practical and physiological challenges to this abrupt change, so give yourself a break if everything hasn’t been smooth sailing.

Fortunately, the continuous improvement principles that help us be efficient in the office apply in much the same way at home. The eight wastes of Lean, for example, create friction and lower productivity for remote workers as much as they do on a factory floor.

Here are some ideas for spotting and eliminating them while working from home.

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Topics: Lean, Lean Software

How (and Why) to Walk the Gemba When Everyone’s Working from Home

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 8, 2020 9:16:00 AM

As leaders, managers, and employees alike all grapple with the sudden disruption in routine work and life, go easy on yourself. It is going to take some time to adapt. Processes and tools that worked well in the first few months of the year will need to be adjusted, particularly if your team is now all working from home.

Gemba Walks are the perfect example. (If you are unfamiliar with Gemba walks, here’s a good introduction.) If your employees are working from home and practicing physical distancing, you can’t possibly go to the place where work is done.

But Gemba walks are such a valuable improvement tool, and if ever there was a time for identifying ways to make processes run better, this is it. Although the situation isn’t necessarily ideal, there are ways to adapt the Gemba walking technique and still enjoy the many benefits. Here are a few tips.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Gemba Walk

Continuous Improvement in Golf [COVID-19]

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 1, 2020 10:00:00 AM

This post is about improvement and its role in a crisis. But I’m choosing a subject matter that has nothing to do with essential services. I realize that everyone has something they really miss about the way the world worked before this crisis became such a battle. 

For me, I really miss sports. 

I grew up playing sports, and they are still a big part of my exercise routines to this day. I have a few teams that I have rooted for since I was young - LSU Tigers, New Orleans Saints, and the Atlanta Braves. 

Growing up, one of my clearest memories was watching the Saints play during Sunday lunch as a family, and even today, my entire family wears purple and gold everywhere we go. Heck, I still remember when the cable company trenched our backyard in the early 80s and TBS showed almost every Braves game.

More than anything though, I miss watching my children (and children everywhere) compete. My family has progressed through baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, and volleyball, and I can certainly attest that watching children compete is one of the purest forms of both anxiety and joy there is. Sports represent some of the best memories of my life, and I’m looking forward to a day when sports can be played freely and joyously again.

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21 Employee Engagement Activities that Work

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Mar 6, 2020 4:35:05 PM

Whether your company has 10 employees or 10,000, coming up with ideas to keep everyone connected and engaged can be a challenge. It’s easy to fall back on the same old employee engagement programs, but they tend to lose their effectiveness with too much repetition. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. Here are 21 employee engagement activities you can use as inspiration.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

Checklist for Planning an Awesome Kaizen Event

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Feb 12, 2020 8:55:43 AM

Kaizen events are an effective tool for harnessing the innovative ideas and creativity of your workforce to implement rapid improvement in a specific area of the organization. In the literature about Kaizen events, a lot of emphasis is put on the event itself, but we have found that often the difference between success and failure is actually the pre-event planning phase. Here are some critical items that should be part of your event preparation.

 

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Topics: Kaizen

5 Easy Improvement Ideas to Get Ready for 2020

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 27, 2019 11:14:00 AM

I’m not sure about you, but at this time of the year, I don’t feel like tackling any major new projects. There seem to be a ton of interruptions, people are in and out of the office, and it is just harder to focus with holiday thoughts on the brain. On the other hand, these next couple of weeks present an opportunity to do a few self-contained improvement projects that can tee up 2020 and help you enjoy the holidays knowing you’re ready to rock the new year.

Here are a few ideas. If you tackle any one of them, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something useful amid all of the year-end excitement.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

What is Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®)?

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Oct 30, 2019 2:05:33 PM

People have been managing projects in business for as long as there have been businesses. Project management is necessary for organizations of all types and sizes, whether it is formally recognized or not. But for complex organizations and those where the outcomes are high stakes, like healthcare, applying a standard for project management and professionalizing the role of project manager helps improve results.

Project management, as a practice, is now seen across the globe as a strategic competency, a career path, and a worthwhile investment for training and education.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is the Project Management Institute’s flagship publication. The guide lays out well-proven, consensus-based practices that are widely used. The publication, which was first released in 1996, is now in its 6th edition.

The PMBOK® Guide is developed by active project management practitioners and subject matter experts. The project management community reviews it before it is released to make sure it continuously reflects the current state of the profession.

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