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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Matt Banna

A Chicago transplant, Matt loves the close-knit structure of the KaiNexus team. With a background in professional sports, he's all about spreading continuous improvement and trying to get a little better every day. Matt graduated from Augustana College in Illinois in 2015 and when he's not at work, you can probably find him rock climbing, weight lifting, eating tacos, or watching his hometown Chicago Cubs and Bears.
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Recent Posts

What to Include in Your Kaizen Event Template

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 6, 2018 7:34:53 AM

This post is the second in our series about Kaizen Event Templates. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, check out our guide to the ultimate pre-event template. We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the success of a Kaizen event is highly correlated to the amount of effort put into planning and preparation. Our pre-event template will help.

You’ll also want a template to use when the big day arrives. Our clients who get the most from Kaizen events use a standard template so that all of the right information is captured and can be shared in a familiar format. Kaizen software supports this by allowing users to create and disseminate their event templates.

You will probably have some unique needs or elements to capture, but here are the basics for a useful and simple Kaizen event template.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

Using a Structured Continuous Improvement Cycle? Software Can Help.

Posted by Matt Banna

Nov 28, 2018 1:50:24 PM

Most organizations that practice continuous improvement whether within a business methodology like Lean or Six Sigma or independently leverage either the PDSA or DMAIC structured improvement cycle. Some organizations use both. PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) is perfect for relatively simple, iterative improvement work. DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) is ideal for data-driven, more complex initiatives. (This post explains more about when to use each approach.)

Regardless of which continuous improvement cycle is right for your current challenge, software can accelerate the speed to success, ensure that improvement is long lasting , and help you measure the results of the effort. Here’s how it helps at each state of both cycles.

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Topics: DMAIC, Continuous Improvement Software

5 Incredibly Powerful Lean Visual Management Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 31, 2018 9:11:00 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. You’ve probably got a message waiting indicator on your desk phone. 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: Visual Management, Lean, Software

Shake Up the Status Quo by Crowdsourcing Innovation

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 24, 2018 8:11:00 AM

When people think of innovation, they often leap to major breakthroughs like a new treatment for illness, an alternative form of energy, or a new detail device. However, Dictionary.com defines innovation as, “A change in something established, especially by introducing new methods or ideas.” In companies, small changes like fine-tuning a process, or solving a nagging problem can be as critical to success as a new product introduction or a massive shift in the business model.

The challenge for many organizations is that change is hard. According to a survey by Gartner, "The biggest threat to innovation is internal politics and an organizational culture which doesn’t accept failure, doesn’t accept ideas from outside, and/or cannot change." The barrier isn’t that people don’t have great ideas; its that there are roadblocks that prevent those ideas from being considered and enacted.

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Topics: Innovation Software

Toyota, Bourbon, and Continuous Improvement

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 17, 2018 11:56:45 AM

One of the greatest benefits of working at KaiNexus is our commitment to learning and growth. I was thrilled when Kade Janssen and I were given the opportunity to attend the first Symposium on Learning Organizations: Agile, Lean, Deming, and More hosted by Mark Graban, Dion Stewart, and Joel Tosi.

The Symposium started off with a visit to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) in San Antonio, Texas. Although this was Kade’s and my second trip to the Toyota manufacturing plant, there was still lots to learn.

First was the visitor’s center. It had been completely redesigned from our previous trip. Aside from still having the ever-present Andon-cord, Toyota added a number of hands-on activities, including a car door spray paint video game, an example of the automated motorized cart tugs, and a demonstration of their weight-assisted chair movers.

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Lean Management Software: Why, What, and How?

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 12, 2018 9:45:00 AM

The three most common questions we get about Lean management software are:

  • Why do we need it?
  • What does it do? And,
  • How do we implement it?

These are all excellent questions. This post has the answers.

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7 Reasons to Consider Kanban Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 2, 2018 8:01:00 AM

The Kanban visual management technique has been around since the late 1940’s when Toyota introduced it in its manufacturing plants. They were looking to improve efficiency and reduce waste, and in the process, paved the way for just-in-time manufacturing. At Toyota, workers used color-coded Kanban cards to signal to downstream workers when there was a need for parts. The word Kanban means “shopkeepers card” or “visual sign” in Japanese.

These days, the Kanban approach has been adopted and modified for use by workers in almost all industries. The most common display is a physical board that has cards moving from queue, in-progress, to complete. This is an excellent way to visualize work in progress and recognize backlogs or teams waiting for work. For small, centrally located groups, a physical board is often sufficient, but by taking the idea into the cloud, Kanban software companies have added significant value to the concept and made it possible to visually manage teams of any size no matter how many locations are involved. Here are the most compelling reason to consider Kanban software for your organization.


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Topics: Kanban

How to Introduce Kaizen to New Employees

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 20, 2018 9:53:02 AM

There has been a lot written in this blog and in many other resources about how to launch the Kaizen philosophy within an organization. Companies are often willing to invest significant amounts of time and resources to make sure that a culture of improvement takes hold. That’s awesome, but we’ve noticed that fewer organizations dedicated to continuous improvement, have a solid plan for introducing the Kaizen way to new employees who join the organization after the initial launch. After a while, Kaizen will become a way of life for your team, but it may be an entirely new concept for your most recent hire. Here are a few tips for bringing them up to speed.

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Topics: Kaizen

Top Signs that You Need Lean Construction Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 9, 2018 8:46:14 AM

Although the construction industry employs some unique applications of the approach, the principles of Lean are the same as they are in any other industry. The practice is rooted in respect for workers, the elimination of waste, and continuous process improvement, all of which can be practiced without supportive software in place.

However, many in the field have found that Lean construction software can help reduce some of the obstacles that make these principles easier said than done. Have you attempted to implement Lean in your firm, but been disappointed with the results?

Here are the signs that technology just might be the solution.

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Topics: lean construction, Lean

A Deep Dive into A3 Thinking [WEBINAR]

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 27, 2018 7:23:00 AM

In a recent post on A3 thinking, we outlined the A3 process itself—and concluded with some strategies team members can use to confront leadership resistance.

Today we’re going to explore other setbacks that may come up while conducting an A3. KaiNexus sat down with Jess Orr, continuous improvement practitioner and founder of Yokoten Learning, to discuss the best ways to deal with pressure and lack of buy-in from the team. You can view the full webinar here.

A Deep Dive into A3 Thinking

Presented by Jess Orr

Watch Now

We will cover topics including:

  • A3 Thinking: A Quick Refresher
  • When to Use an A3 vs. Other Tools
  • How to Engage Others in the Process
  • Change Management 101
  • The Hardest Part: Sustaining the Gains
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