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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

7 Signs That Your Organization Needs Visual Task Management

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 11, 2019 12:37:00 PM

When I was a kid, my mother helped motivate and organize her workforce (aka, my sisters and me) with a chore chart. Each week we had tasks assigned and got to put a sticker on the chart when the job was satisfactorily completed. This wasn’t exactly an innovation in parenting, but it worked well for our family. We each knew what we had to do and adding the sticker was a small reward and a visible reminder that we had done what we were asked.

We don’t really need “chore charts” in business, of course. But the advantages of organizing work visually are even more apparent. After all, navigating an entire organization toward breakthrough strategic objectives is far more difficult than getting four kids to straighten up.

How do you know if your organization could benefit from visual task management? Here are some pretty telling signs.

How Leading Companies are Improving Visual Management

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Topics: Visual Management

6 Reasons Lean Project Management Initiatives Flop

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 31, 2019 8:14:00 AM

Many of the people who come to us to talk about our Lean improvement management software are not embarking on their first rodeo. In fact, in many cases, the very reason they are turning to us is that previous attempts to implement Lean project management have been disappointing.

This gives us a lot of insight into what can go wrong.

Here are some of the most common factors that lead to failure and what you can do to avoid them.

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Topics: Lean

Hoshin Planning 101

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 18, 2019 8:14:00 AM

Maneuvering an organization toward its long-term strategic goals while managing day-to-day improvements and curtailing business processes demands systemic planning and an organization that is fully aligned. That’s the concept that drives Hoshin planning.

This post is designed to help you understand the fundamentals of Hoshin and the language that surrounds it. We’ll define some unfamiliar terms and concepts that can be confusing when new.

Lots more in-depth content has been written about Hoshin by us and others, but this is an excellent place to start.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

How to Select Lean Management Software [eBook Preview]

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 11, 2019 8:11:00 AM

We are super excited about the launch of our new eBook designed to take the guesswork out of choosing Lean management software for your organization. Of course, we hope you’ll consider KaiNexus, but even if you don’t, this new guide to improvement management software selection will help.

Our roadmap for getting the best solution will be useful whether you are using the Lean management business methodology or another approach. That’s because the best solutions allow you to tailor the platform to fit your organization’s improvement paradigm.

Here’s a preview of what is covered.

 

 

Free eBook: How to Choose an Improvement Platform

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In this eBook, you will learn:

  • Benefits of improvement software
  • Does your organization need an improvement platform?
  • Why not just use Excel, analog boards, or a suggestion box?
  • Improvement software feature checklist
  • How to evaluate vendors
  • How software supports popular improvement techniques
  • Implementation best practices

 

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Topics: Lean, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Improvement Kata - A Workout for Kaizen

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 31, 2018 11:15:22 AM

In fitness, there’s nothing complicated about a push-up. But when executed properly, it’s an outstanding exercise that strengths your arms, chest, and core muscles. Adjustments can be made to increase or decrease the level of difficulty, so it is a useful training tool regardless of your fitness level. However, if you fail to use proper form and end up with your butt in the air or an incomplete range of motion, push-ups are not helpful at all. The way you do it really matters.

The same is true for Kaizen. Just like we’d all love to be strong and fit, every organization would love to maximize positive change. But not all teams that attempt continuous improvement succeed, often as a result of poor “form.” Improvement kata is the answer.

In Japanese, the word kata literally means "form." A kata typically refers to basic movements in Japanese martial arts but can apply to any basic form, routine, or pattern of behavior. In business, improvement kata brings form to process improvement by structuring the way people think about problem-solving and engage in change.

The kata process has four steps.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology, Lean

How to Apply Lean Principles Beyond Work

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 18, 2018 8:12:00 AM

We promise not to turn this blog into the next big thing in lifestyle content, but a recent conversation sparked an idea. Everyone here at KaiNexus is a massive fan of the Lean business approach - and for good reason. It helps companies reduce cost, better position themselves to compete, and develop leadership qualities in team members. Well, it turns out, that enthusiasm isn’t limited to helping our clients understand and implement Lean. After chatting a bit about it, we discovered that many members of our team have applied Lean principles to life outside of the office as well. In some cases, we didn’t even realize we were doing it; Lean thinking just took over.

Here are a few examples of how to leverage the power of Lean in real life.

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Topics: Lean

Buyer’s Guide to Lean Software for Healthcare

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 13, 2018 8:30:00 AM

The Lean approach to business management is becoming increasingly popular with healthcare organizations. Leaders find Lean to be a perfect fit for healthcare because it helps maximize resources and reduce costs while keeping quality patient care the highest priority. To get the most out of the approach, many hospitals and healthcare networks use software that supports the Lean philosophy and related techniques. If you are considering that route, this post will help.
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Topics: Lean Healthcare, Continuous Improvement Software, Software

The Lean Thinking Behind Popular Improvement Techniques

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 11, 2018 2:54:10 PM

Many tools and techniques support the Lean management methodology. For those new to the approach, they can seem a little all over the map. You may ask what control charts and Catchball have in common. We find it helpful to put the Lean approach in context by looking at how the techniques fit into the Lean mindset. Once you outline the core values of Lean, the synergies of each common practice become clearer.

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Topics: Lean

The Fundamentals of a Lean Deployment Plan

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 21, 2018 11:25:22 AM

If you’ve decided to set your organization on the path to Lean, that decision will likely be one of many that will bring measurable benefits in terms of profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. Leaders who have taken this journey before have told us that getting started with Lean can be somewhat overwhelming. We thought it might be helpful to share, step-by-step, how some of the most successful organizations have launched their Lean programs. Hopefully, you’ll see that it isn’t as daunting as you might think.

We should note that every organization and every Lean program is different. Organizations can go all in or take an incremental approach. There’s no one “right” way to do Lean, so you’ll have to find the path that works best for your team. But whatever route you take, these elements are vital to success and should be included in your Lean deployment plan.

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Topics: Lean

Should I Use a Free Kanban Board Excel Template?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 13, 2018 3:29:50 PM

The internet is full of free templates for creating Kanban boards in Excel. That’s not surprising because the format of a Kanban board can be very simple, and Excel is attractive because most people know how to use its base features and everyone in the company probably already has access to it. Setting up a Kanban board in Excel and emailing it out to everyone is easy. That’s why we aren’t surprised that so many organizations start out on this road.

Very few, however, reach their goals with this approach. Here’s why.

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Topics: Kanban

Recent Posts