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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


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

Big Mistakes Made by Healthcare Organizations Implementing Lean

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 4, 2018 12:34:01 PM

The Lean approach to business management has its roots in manufacturing, but today it is widely used in hospitals and other healthcare organizations. The ideas of waste reduction and process controls are attractive, but some leaders implementing Lean healthcare run into some pretty serious challenges.

Here are a few of the most common mistakes.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

How Digital Visual Management Spreads Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 26, 2018 10:05:42 AM

The human brain processes visual information significantly faster than text. Visuals are also more powerful than what we hear. When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. If you think about how you move through the world, you won’t be surprised that 90% of all the information that goes to your brain is visual and 93% of all human communication is visual.

Organizations dedicated to continuous improvement can take advantage of this reality and use visual management to engage staff, provide insight into key information, and help ensure that improvement projects are moving forward as planned. Visual management can be used to support a culture of positive change and spread success across the organization. With today’s technology, it is possible to introduce an improvement management system that makes visualization easy and accessible for every employee.

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Topics: Visual Management

How to Share Standard Work

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 19, 2018 11:22:06 AM

Standard Work is one of the bedrock elements of continuous improvement. In fact, Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, once said, “Without Standard Work, there is no Kaizen [positive change].”

Unfortunately, we’ve seen many organizations create a Standard Work document, check the box, and move on to business as usual.

This does little to stabilize processes or prepare for the next improvement. In order for Standard Work to be effective, it must be widely shared and actively managed.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Culture, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

How to Actually Enjoy a More Productive Gemba Walk

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 9, 2018 7:34:00 AM

Gemba walks are a valuable tool for anyone interested in continuous improvement and spreading a culture of improvement across the organization. Leaders visit the place where work gets done, observe, ask questions, and show respect. Following the walk, an improvement cycle might be started based on analysis of what was observed.

It’s actually pretty simple, but the simple things can be the most difficult to execute effectively.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your next Gemba walk.

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Topics: Gemba Walk

10 Things a Digital Kaizen Board Can Do That a Paper One Can’t

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 7, 2018 7:23:00 AM

Kaizen boards are a fantastic addition to any improvement program. They arrange information visually so that a quick glance provides useful information about the progress of improvement projects. They are popular in every industry from healthcare to construction. In terms of implementing a Kaizen board, there are really two choices. A physical board that hangs on a wall in or near the workspace or an electronic Kaizen board that can be accessed from computers or mobile phones.

While paper boards make nice artifacts, there are a bunch of things that only their digital counterparts can do.

Here are our top 10.

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Topics: Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Software

6 New Ideas for Making Your Idea Boards Even Better

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 27, 2018 11:21:55 AM

Your idea board is probably full of smart suggestions about how to improve all sorts of processes, improve safety, reduce costs, eliminate defects, and get more work done faster.

But what about the idea board itself?

We find that it is common for people to forget to think about improving improvement. If you haven’t thought about it for a while, now is a good time to ponder what you could do to make your idea board even more effective.

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Topics: Visual Management

An Invaluable Change Management Software Selection Guide

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 20, 2018 3:46:17 PM

Is 2018 the year that your organization puts some structure around positive change? If so, congratulations! When teams take a more thoughtful approach to improvement, they see better results and get work done faster.

Change management software takes the game to a whole different level enabling collaboration, real-time management, impact reporting and so much more.

Most people don’t buy change management software very often, so we’ve put together this selection guide to help you know what you should look for when evaluating solutions.

For the full guide, download:

Change Management Software Comparison Matrix

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Topics: Change Management Software

9 Brilliantly Simple Continuous Quality Improvement Techniques

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 8, 2018 11:09:33 AM

I often find myself falling into the common trap of believing that if something is worthwhile, it is necessarily difficult. I think we all expect that valuable things are hard. The truth is, however, that sometimes the most effective and impactful things we can do are really quite simple.

When it comes to continuous quality improvement, this is absolutely the case.

Here are 9 examples of quality improvement tools, techniques, and technology that are uncomplicated yet extremely valuable.

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Topics: Quality, Spread Continuous Improvement

3 Arguments Against Kaizen Tracking in Spreadsheets

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 2, 2018 10:45:28 AM

If you are still tracking your Kaizen activities in spreadsheets, I get it. Spreadsheets are a tempting approach because you already have them, most people know how to use their basic functions, they’re infinitely configurable, they never get the math wrong, and rows and columns are an intuitive way to organize things.  

But let me ask you a question.

Do you use spreadsheets to track sales activity, inventory, customer support requests, and employee data? Probably not. You probably have a CRM, and ERP, and HR software.

Could you track those things in spreadsheets?

Sure, but you don’t because those functions are important enough that you want a solution custom-built to support them. You want consistency across users, you want data security and integrity, and you want active functionality.

If you are serious about continuous improvement, you’d want all of those things for Kaizen tracking as well.

There are a number of reasons that spreadsheets are a particularly bad fit for Kaizen tracking.


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Topics: Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Event Next Week! The Toyota Way to Service Excellence, with Lean Frontiers

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 26, 2018 11:45:31 AM

I know I'm a bit last minute with this one, but I just couldn't miss the opportunity to make sure you lovely readers are aware of an event being put on by our friends Lean Frontiers next week.

On Monday January 29, Lean Frontiers is hosting The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: An Online Event with our other friend Karyn Ross and her co-author Jeff Liker. I know, I know. We have great friends.

We've hosted a webinar with Karyn Ross before, called How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence, which you can watch here.

In the book The Toyota Way to Service Excellence, Liker and Ross refocus people on the idea that Lean isn’t a mechanistic set of tools to drive out cost and focus on end results, but rather, is a system to deeply understand each of your customer’s needs and then create the services that are going to address those needs. Doing so ensures that your company fulfills its purpose over the long term.

As Ross explained leading up to our webinar, creativity is a large part of this process but sadly, some people believe that they aren’t creative. Herself believing that creativity is the ability to combine and synthesize knowledge and experience rather than flashes of inspiration, Ross is confident people can rediscover or regain their creativity simply by practicing to use it. But while creativity can be rediscovered through practice, just like diet and exercise it’s a much easier process with a coach.

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