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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

How to Build & Grow a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Posted by Matt Banna

Nov 23, 2021 10:16:57 AM

Company culture is what makes one organization different from the next. The team's shared values, goals, and expectations contribute to a thriving organizational culture. Leaders who are dedicated to continuous improvement make it the cornerstone of their organization's culture.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

How Consultants Can Provide Effective Lean Measurement

Posted by Matt Banna

Nov 11, 2021 2:40:48 PM

When leading a Lean transformation, a consultant’s most important job is to help plant and grow a culture of continuous improvement in an organization.

Planting a seed takes careful nurturing and dedication to actually grow the plant. Once a plant starts growing, it can't be abandoned. A plant gives warning signs if it is in trouble. If a plant starts to brown, it might need more sunlight. If the plant starts to wilt, it might need more water.

Speaking with many consultants, I find that one of their biggest worries is that when they finish an engagement, they will come back a few months later to find that plant that they worked so hard to grow is wilted and dying.

An improvement culture cannot be created with a “drop and grow” approach; it needs careful maintenance to grow strong. However, it isn’t easy to measure the health of an improvement culture with spreadsheets or SharePoint files. While a plant gives warning signs in multiple ways, a spreadsheet does not. The only way to know if a culture is failing is that the spreadsheet won’t get filled out.

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For consultants, bringing a continuous improvement software platform into their repertoire gives them the ability to conduct health checks on their clients without even being in the building. Software keeps track of due dates, engagement, and participation rates, giving consultants and improvement leaders added tools to keep growing their culture.

Specific boards and reporting capabilities partnered with powerful filtering features within continuous improvement software give the ability to see not just an entire organization, but to dive down into specific department or location levels.

Three types of metrics will give you and your client insight into the health of improvement culture: activity metrics, engagement metrics, and impact metrics.

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Topics: Lean Consulting

The Formula for Successful Strategy Deployment

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 25, 2021 10:26:44 AM

When you're thinking about rolling out Strategy Deployment in your organization, it can be intimidating to know exactly where to start, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to set yourself up for success right from the beginning. I've recently written an eBook that covers these questions, as well as information about the software you need to enable Strategy Deployment, that you can download here:

But I thought that today on the blog, I'd give you a sneak peek into one of the chapters of the book covering the formula for successful Strategy Deployment.

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Topics: Strategy Deployment

How Leader Standard Work Templates Drive Innovation

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 12, 2021 1:03:07 PM

Standard work is the documented and current best way to do a particular task, procedure, or process. Workers develop the standard and follow it until an improvement process results in a new standard. Standard work ensures that results are consistent and forms the foundation upon which improvements are made. Leader standard work applies this same concept to the task of driving Lean thinking and behavior throughout the organization.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

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

Recent Posts