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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

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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The Pocket Sensei: Mastering Lean Leadership One Lesson at a Time

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 25, 2018 7:05:00 AM

Know Why Kata.pngMany Lean initiatives fail not because of the accessibility to Lean tools, but because leadership is unavailable when it is needed most. There seems to never be time for developing the important skill of Lean leadership - how do you lead team improvement efforts while urgent daily fires consume your project and your attention?

Our friends Hal Macomber and Calayde Davey have written a book to aid in this effort, called "The Pocket Sensei: Mastering Lean Leadership with 40 Kata." 

The book delivers a rich yet simple repository of Lean leadership and kaizen practices focused on in-the-moment behavioral adaptations you can make within your work situations. This on-the-job learning tool demonstrates how to engage and build fundamental Lean leadership skills across all your project and organizational levels. It is a wonderful starting point to develop individual and team Lean Leadership in a very practical way.

The book will be released as a special edition for the Lean Construction Institute, Vancouver, Canada, in 2018.

In celebration of this event, the book will be free to download from Kindle until January 26!

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The What and Why of CAPA Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 23, 2018 8:17:00 AM

Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA) is an essential ingredient in many quality management strategies. The approach relies on the systematic investigation of the root causes of identified problems or risks. Corrective actions are applied to issues that have occurred (reactive), and preventive actions attempt to eliminate the potential for problems in the future (proactive).

Many organizations have implemented software to support CAPA efforts. While the methodology can be followed with or without technology, applications designed to streamline the process and measure results help companies get more value out of the work.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Leadership, Standard Work, and Sustainment: Questions from the Audience, Answered

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 12, 2018 12:06:32 PM

mark_and_greg.jpgThis month's episode of our Ask Us Anything webinar series kicked off with some excitement about the KaiNexus team's upcoming tour of the Toyota plant in San Antonio. Mark's gone to the plant a few times already, but this will be the first time that the whole KaiNexus team is getting together to make the trek down there. Maybe you're wondering why a technology company is taking a day off to tour a manufacturing plant... so Mark asked Greg.

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How to Make a Smart Decision About What Improvement Platform is Best

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 5, 2018 9:18:00 AM

I have a surprise for you guys.

Back in 2014, our company made the decision to move from a pile of marketing tools - what I like to call a Frankensystem - to a single tool that includes everything (love you, Hubspot!). This was tough for us because at the time we didn't have anyone on the team that specialized in this type of marketing - and certainly not anyone who had experience in evaluating marketing software. We had the recommendation of a consultant that planted the Hubspot seed, but other than that, it was up to me to figure out how to evaluate it. I found a comparison matrix online that compared Hubspot to some competitors, which I downloaded and added to as I researched.

A couple of months ago, another department at KaiNexus began looking for a platform to eliminate their Frankensystem, and I told them about the value of using a comparison matrix to figure out what platform was best. They're now researching options, and creating a comparison matrix to make the best decision.

Why is a comparison matrix a useful tool for evaluating software?

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Critical Continuous Improvement Goals for 2018

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 4, 2018 3:42:31 PM

Every year, KaiNexus team comes together from around the country to meet in Austin, Texas and discuss the year we've concluded and plan the one we've entered into. This meeting is part celebration, part post-mortem, part strategic planning, and it serves to breathe inspiration and purposefulness into our team for the year.

As I sit down to write out both my personal and professional goals for 2018, I'm struck by the importance of the work we do at KaiNexus. You see, our ultimate goal - our BHAG, if you will - is to have a specific number of improvements completed in KaiNexus by our customers. Seems kind of funny at first glance - that the goal our Marketing, Sales, Development, etc. teams are working toward is actually based on the activities of our customers, not OUR company.

But looking deeper, you find that the work each department in KaiNexus does impacts our customers' ability to complete more improvements. Marketing attracts more people who need continuous improvement software, Sales brings them into the KaiNexus tribe, Customer Experience sets them up for success, and Development builds a product that is both effective and efficient so that more people can and want to use KaiNexus.

In this way, the number of improvements our customers make is actually a reflection on the success of our company as a whole.

What about your company? What defining metric - what True North objective - is at the top of the pyramid when you write out your company's goals? What is the one most significant indicator of success for your company? What goals does each department need to reach in order for the company to meet that goal? Each team? Each individual?

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The 2017 The Lean Management System Blog Roundup

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 29, 2017 1:21:55 PM

As 2017 comes quickly to a close, we took a minute to look back over some of the blogs we’ve posted on one of our favorite topics, the Lean Management system. If you are interested in learning more about Lean management, or continuous improvement in general, this post is a great place to start.

We’ve curated our best content on the subject and pulled together some descriptions and excerpts.

Links to each post are provided if you are interested in learning more. Enjoy!

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management, Continuous Improvement Software

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