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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Maggie Millard

As the Director of Marketing, Maggie educates the continuous improvement community, KaiNexus customers, executives, managers, and staff in just about every industry you can think of about improvement principles and KaiNexus' continuous improvement software. Her desire to improve the American healthcare system combined with a love of spreading knowledge to the far reaches of the internet inspires her work with KaiNexus every day. Maggie graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2010 with a BA in History. She spends her free time hanging out with her sweet, sticky, stinky new baby and two displaced dogs in the mountains of Virginia.
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Recent Posts

The Value of Lean in Professional Services Firms

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 21, 2017 8:25:00 AM

While the legal profession is considered one of the oldest, dating back to Roman times, as Karen and David Skinner pointed out in a recent KaiNexus webinar, innovation is a hot topic in the legal industry right now.

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Using Technology to Target the 8 Wastes of Lean

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 20, 2017 7:25:00 AM

Lean organizations target 8 types of waste in an effort to create the perfect flow of value to the customer. Ideally, no resources are used unnecessarily and every task contributes something for which customers are willing to pay.  Of course, achieving this is much more challenging than just saying it.

That’s why a set of Lean tools and techniques have been developed to aid Leaders who embark on this journey. We’d argue that software designed to support this type of improvement is crucial to success.

 

The 8 Wastes of Lean

Lean practices have identified 8 specific types of waste. This is very helpful because some of them are less obvious and might not jump to mind when you start to think about waste reduction. They include:

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A Patient Safety Week Reminder About Continuous Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 17, 2017 8:03:00 AM

In the United States, multiple estimates say over  100,000 people die each year in hospitals as a result of medical errors. There are an estimated 1.7 million care-associated infections each year and “adverse medication events” cause over 750,000 injuries and deaths per year. Beyond the human cost, if you look at the financial cost of these mistakes, we’re looking at almost $20 billion annually. (Source)

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When Good Gemba Walks Go Bad

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 15, 2017 7:19:00 AM

Fujio Cho is the honorary chairman of the Toyota Motor Corporation. He boils Lean leadership down to three simple responsibilities:

  1. Go see.
  2. Ask why.
  3. Show respect.


If you are wondering exactly what you should do on your next Gemba walk, there you have it. Go see. Ask why. Show respect. Gemba walks give leaders the opportunity to observe the processes that add value in their natural habitat. After all, talking about what happens on a factory floor or an emergency room in a board room is very different than observing work at the source.

But like any other continuous improvement technique, the devil is in the details when it comes to Gemba walks. The best of intentions can be undermined by mistakes in execution. Here’s how a good Gemba Walk can go wrong.

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Topics: Gemba Walk

Previewing How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence [Upcoming Webinar]

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 10, 2017 1:03:59 PM

On March 28, KaiNexus will be hosting a webinar with Karyn Ross, who recently published the Shingo Award-winning book The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations, which she co-wrote with Jeff Liker. Ross is a purpose-driven consultant and Lean coach, and will be speaking to our own Mark Graban about how to coach for creativity and service excellence. Graban just had a conversation with Ross about what webinar viewers can expect to learn in the webinar, which you can listen to here:

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Topics: Leadership

The Advantages of Applying Lean in Education

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 9, 2017 8:36:00 AM

America’s education system faces an enormously complex set of challenges. Educators find themselves faced with community and government pressure to improve student performance, but often without corresponding funding or influence over policies and expectations. In short, our school administrations and teachers are being asked to do more with less.

That’s why it isn’t surprising to find that education professionals are turning to a business management approach that has proven very effective in other sectors such as manufacturing and healthcare.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement in Education

Incident Reporting is Only the Beginning

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 27, 2017 10:32:20 AM

Have you seen the LifeLock commercial about the bank robbery?  A group of robbers comes in with baseball bats and demand that everyone get on the floor. The customers ask the uniformed security officer to do something. Instead, he says, “Oh, I’m not a security guard. I’m a security monitor. I only notify people if there’s a robbery.” He looks at the customers and reports, “There’s a robbery.” The narrator asks, "Why monitor a problem if you don't fix it?"

Of course, LifeLock is being a little silly to make a point, but the truth is that many incident reporting systems are much like this “security monitor.” They are well-intentioned and designed to allow people to easily report problems, but not to solve them or prevent recurrence. I guess having a list of incidents is better than not, but real progress comes from corrective and preventative action. Reporting is only the first step.

The best solutions combine incident reporting with corrective action, prevention, and impact assessment features.

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Topics: Software, Improvement Methodology

The World’s Saddest Kaizen Board?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 24, 2017 8:11:00 AM


A friend who knows that I am interested in continuous improvement techniques of all sorts was visiting a relative in the ER in a California hospital. She sent me this photo. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you probably know why this upset me, but I think it is worth listing the reasons it made me cringe.

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Topics: Kaizen

Are Gemba Walks Only for Managers?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 20, 2017 7:09:00 AM

During a typical Gemba Walk, a manager or supervisor visits the place where work gets done. He or she observes as processes and tasks are carried out, asks questions, and reflects on what was seen. After careful consideration, they would ask for (or potentially offer) ideas for improvement or begin a PDSA cycle. This is an effective way for managers to get a first-hand look at what is happening with their team and to get vital feedback.

But could the approach be used to help employees who are not managers get a better understanding of the overall flow of value through the organization and where their work fits in? We believe that it can.

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Topics: Gemba Walk

The Top 9 Reasons to Implement CAPA Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 6, 2017 3:11:54 PM

Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA) is an effective improvement technique that helps organizations investigate the root causes of any known problems or potential risks. The corrective action addresses something problematic that has happened, while the preventative action aims to avoid potential future problems.

Corrective actions happen in response to things like product defects, identified waste, or customer complaints. Preventative actions may be applied to potential safety risks, competitive threats, or falling performance indicators.

CAPA software has been developed to help organizations support this management technique. Here are the key advantages it offers.

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Topics: Software, Improvement Methodology