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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Matt Banna

As a Solutions Engineer, Matt works with Sales, Customer Experience, Product, and Support. Basically, if you have a question about KaiNexus, Matt probably knows the answer. A Chicago transplant, Matt relocated to Austin in 2016 after a short stint working in Business Development for the Chicago Bears. With a background in professional sports, Matt loves the close-knit structure of the KaiNexus team. When he's not at work, you can probably find him at the gym or at Buford’s bar watching his hometown Chicago Cubs or Bears.
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Recent Posts

The 10 Principles of Operational Excellence

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 25, 2021 11:52:08 AM

The dictionary defines “principle” as “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or a chain of reasoning." Principles help us see the positive and negative results of our actions. They enable us to make smarter decisions about what we choose to do.

In business, when leaders, managers, and team members understand the principles of operational excellence, they are better able to align systems and reward ideal behavior. This creates a sustainable culture of improvement in which achieving the desired results is standard, rather than exceptional.

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Topics: Operational Excellence

32 Business Process Improvement Examples to Guide Your Efforts

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 17, 2021 10:19:43 AM

One of the biggest challenges we hear from organizations that are new to structured business process improvement is that it is hard to articulate for employees what constitutes an opportunity for improvement. Usually, there are some low-hanging-fruit ideas that people jump on right away, but once those are cleared away, it can be difficult to spot flaws in processes, especially ones that you operate every day.

An excellent remedy for this problem is giving employees categories of improvement possibilities to consider. By providing a few examples and asking questions, leaders can spark ideas, get people thinking innovatively, and support their improvement cultures.

Once problems are identified, a variety of improvement techniques can be deployed to solve them.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process

How To Achieve High Reliability, Error Free Operations

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 11, 2021 11:52:51 AM

A high-reliability organization (HRO) is an organization that is successful in avoiding catastrophes despite a high level of risk and complexity. Specific examples are air traffic control systems, nuclear power plants, naval aircraft carriers, and hospitals. In each of these cases, even a minor mistake can lead to catastrophic results.

Nonetheless, adverse outcomes in these types of organizations are very unusual. How can that be?

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess the answer. Thanks to researchers Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe and the case studies they created, we know precisely which attitudes have taken root in these “High-Reliability Organizations.” The good news is that your organization doesn’t need to deal with life-or-death risk to apply the principles that create an environment where error-free operations are the norm.

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Topics: HRO, Improvement Culture

What is the Value of Digital Continuous Improvement?

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 10, 2021 1:11:06 PM

The generation now entering the workforce will never use a payphone, never write a check, never get off the couch to turn the channel, and never look up movie times in the newspaper. Things that all seemed normal and permanent to those of us over 40 are simply not things anymore. The internet age is upon us, and we can make calls from anywhere, send money with a click, watch shows on-demand, and buy movie tickets with an app. Change isn’t always easy, but new ways of doing things make us more efficient, better connected, and more flexible.

This is true for organizations as well. Modern technology continues to advance and offer organizations more efficient, scalable, and effective ways of doing things. Core business functions still exist. The sales, HR, manufacturing, accounting, and logistics functions continue to be essential, but now they are assisted with software and other technology that aids performance. Likewise, a new digital continuous improvement approach has emerged and been embraced by successful organizations in every sector.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Lean Software

13 Transformative Process Improvement Tools and Ideas

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 28, 2021 5:45:20 PM

After many years of speaking with leaders and managers looking to implement process improvement tools in their organizations, we've learned a few things. The first is that every organization is different and what scores a home run for one may not even get a hit in another. The second is that despite these differences, many of the process improvement tools that have been developed over the last 50 years can be adapted to be useful for organizations of all types and sizes.

This post provides a brief introduction to some of the process improvement tools that our customers have used to reduce costs, improve safety, assure quality, and increase customer satisfaction. For each tool or idea, we've included a link to more detailed information. Many are borrowed from the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, but you don't have to be using one of them to find value in these techniques.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Kaizen 101. New to The Approach? Start Here.

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 23, 2021 10:16:00 AM

The world was first introduced to kaizen's philosophy and practice in 1986 with Masaaki Imai's book, Kaizen, The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. Today, it still holds up as an excellent read for anyone interested in finding ways to make their organization more successful at achieving continuous improvement. 

While kaizen concepts are straightforward, volumes have been written about how organizations build the improvement mindset into operations and culture. Our goal with this post is to give you the basic framework of kaizen and hopefully leave you excited about exploring the ways you might begin to transform your organization into one that consistently exhibits operational excellence.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture, Improvement Methodology

3 Fundamental Quality Management Techniques

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 16, 2021 11:16:00 PM

Quality management is a subject that's often studied in business. There are hundreds of books and countless blog posts with advice on how to improve quality. Some organizations choose to adopt comprehensive process management methodologies like Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, or the Toyota Production System.

These systematic, structured approaches all have their place and can help the right situation, but you don’t have to fully adopt any of them to improve the quality of your results. There are some fundamental quality management things you can do to reduce waste and deliver more value to customers.

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Topics: Quality, Improvement Methodology

5 Incredibly Powerful Lean Visual Management Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 14, 2021 11:48:07 AM

Visual management tools surround us. Although they are so ubiquitous, we might not even think about them. When your car is about to run out of gas, a light will alert you to the problem. Your fitness app may even show you how close you are to your daily goal. Your brain can quickly process these visual clues and use the information to make decisions.

The Lean business approach takes advantage of this fact and leverages several powerful tools for management and improvement. You don’t have to be all in on Lean to take advantage of them. Any organization striving for continuous improvement can benefit.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Visual Management

Continuous Improvement Goal Suggestions for 2021

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 5, 2021 10:45:00 AM

I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that I believe we are all glad to have 2020 in the rearview mirror. While life isn't going back to normal any time soon, there is hope on the horizon. The COIVD-19 vaccine rollout is on the way, and our healthcare professionals have made great strides in treatment for the disease. 

Last year at about this time, we laid out some suggested continuous improvement resolutions for 2020. If the pandemic thwarted your plans and best intentions, give yourself a pass. No one knew what unprecedented challenges would arise.

But this is an excellent time to begin again. Even knowing that COVID-related disruptions will continue, it is still a healthy exercise to think about what your team can accomplish for continuous improvement in 2021. You'll have to consider your unique priorities, but we do have some suggestions for goals that will help your organization achieve excellence in the coming year.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Methodology, Strategy Deployment

How To Reduce Waste with More Productive Meetings

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 20, 2020 10:56:00 AM

Even before the pandemic, most American workers felt that they were being forced into wasteful or even counterproductive meetings regularly. According to a study by Korn Ferry, 51% of professionals reported that spending too much time in meetings and on calls distracts them from making an impact at work to some extent. Another 16% said that it was true to a great extent. A whopping 67% of workers said excessive meetings keep them from getting their best work done.

Think that the sudden work to remote work driven by COVID-19 means fewer meetings? Think again.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Leadership, Daily Lean Management

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