<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=749646578535459&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

Subscribe

Matt Banna

As a new Austin resident, 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 eating TexMex or BBQ and trying to find the best place to watch his hometown Chicago Cubs or Bears.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Breaking Down the Steps of a Baseball Swing (or a Workplace Improvement)

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 22, 2017 7:01:00 AM

Being the resident KaiNexus baseball fanatic (See previous posts here and here and follow me on Twitter to get all my KaiNexus and Chicago Cubs related tweets), I was thrilled when Mark Graban shared Tim Cooper’s Kaizen Batter with me after meeting Cooper at a conference. 

Kaizen and baseball? What a great combo!

I love baseball for many reasons: you can’t run out the clock, you always have to be paying attention, and one swing of the bat can change the game.

Think about that swing of the bat: it has been said that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest tasks in sports.

If you have played, you know how difficult it can be. The feeling of success is fleeting when even the best players get hits on average 3/10 times. If you have never played, former Pittsburgh Pirate star Willie Stargell explains, “They give you a round bat and they throw you a round ball and they tell you to hit it square."

All joking aside, hitting a baseball is incredibly difficult because a fastball typically takes 0.4 seconds to reach home plate after it leaves the pitcher’s hand. Increasing the difficulty, it takes 0.25 seconds for a human being to see the ball and react. How do you prepare and succeed in a situation like that?

Listen to this Post and Subscribe to the Podcast:

Read More

7 Critical Lean Construction Software Features

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 21, 2017 7:18:00 AM

The Lean business practice methodology is becoming ever more popular in the construction industry.

Many leaders in the field are investing in technology to support the organization’s improvement efforts and to ensure the spread of the Lean mindset. Those who choose the right solution and implement it successfully have found that it has a significant impact on their ability to root out waste, create a safer work environment, and achieve lasting improvement momentum.

Most people don’t shop for Lean construction software every day, so we’ve put together some of the most important features to add to your checklist.

Read More

Five Lean Manufacturing Principles You Might Not Know (But Probably Should)

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 3, 2017 7:02:00 AM

Learning about Lean systems is often exciting and motivating for organizations eager to create sustainable long-term business success. One of the first things we all learn about Lean is that it was created in manufacturing, specifically within Toyota and the automotive industry. But, for those of us in fields outside of manufacturing—healthcare, construction, education, government, software and so on— the excitement of what can be accomplished with Lean sometimes leads us to skip over some of the finer Lean manufacturing principles in lieu of taking action on things with a clearer impact on our organization.

Read More

Topics: Lean

Why Process Control Charts are a Roadmap to Improvement

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 1, 2017 7:13:00 AM

Organizations that subscribe to the Lean or Six Sigma business methodology, and others that are devoted to continuous improvement, often use a host of visual management tools to achieve consistency and introduce positive change. Kanban, huddle boards, and value stream maps are all very popular and effective. Process control charts are another valuable visual management tool for recognizing and reacting to process variation.

Here are the details about why they are so useful.

Statistical Process Control

It is probably helpful to begin with a definition of process. A process is quite simply anything that gets done. It could be putting gas in your car, filling out a time sheet, delivering source code to QA, or checking in a patient. Each of these activities results in some output. Sometimes it is a product, but often it is a service or a deliverable to the next process. In addition to the result of the process, data is also generated. Statistical process control is the act of using that data to make the process better. The data might be related to timeliness, cost, quality, or quantity.

Listen to this Post and Subscribe to the Podcast:



Read More

Topics: Lean, Change Management, Six Sigma, Improvement Process

8 Important Questions about Kaizen Events, Answered

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 17, 2017 10:22:11 AM

Kaizen events are an effective way to implement changes quickly. They are also a great way to get team members involved in improvement and to foster cross-functional collaboration. When we chat with people who are relatively new to structured continuous quality improvement, they often have questions about Kaizen events.

Here are answers to the ones we hear most frequently.

What is Kaizen?

This may seem like a strange question for someone considering doing a Kaizen event, but it is surprising how often the technique is introduced without the necessary context. Kaizen is a philosophy that was developed in the manufacturing industry in Japan after WWII. The term is translated as “positive change.” It is the idea that continuous improvement is both necessary and possible. It focuses on respect for people and the belief that even small improvements can have a big impact.

Read More

Topics: Kaizen

6 Principles of Lean Construction

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 3, 2017 11:20:00 AM

A growing number of construction firms are embracing the Lean methodology that emphasizes maximizing value for the customer while minimizing waste. The approach is simple and attractive in an industry where budgets, timeframes, and safety are all critical. But the Lean approach to project delivery is very different than traditional construction methods, making proper execution of the philosophy and techniques difficult to implement.

Lean construction borrows from the manufacturing approach developed by Toyota after World War II. Of course, it is much easier to produce repeatable, forecastable results in the controlled environment of a factory floor than in the more unpredictable world of construction. Greater variation and workflow disruptions are to be expected.

It is also important to note that there is no one cookie-cutter approach to Lean construction. There are a number of tools including the Last Planner System, Integrated Project Delivery, Building Information Modeling, 5s, and Kaizen Events that can be used in combination to achieve lean. This gives practitioners a wide range of options that can be applied to each project.  

Listen to this Post and Subscribe to the Podcast:


There are, however guiding principles that help firms achieve lower costs, reduced construction times, more productivity and efficient project management. They represent a holistic approach to the construction process.

Read More

Topics: Lean

Ask Us Anything! How to Get Leadership Buy-In and Plan Kaizen Events

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 27, 2017 7:30:00 AM

In the webinar series Ask Us Anything, which you can find hereKaiNexus CEO and Co-founder Greg Jacobson and Mark Graban, our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org, answer questions from KaiNexus webinar viewers on video.

For those who prefer to catch up on the continuous improvement discussion though the written word, we have summarized a couple of answers from episode 12 of Ask Us Anything here.

Have a question of your own?

Sign up for today's Ask Us Anything webinar and submit your question for Mark and Greg!

Register Now

 

Getting Leaders and Executives to Buy-In to Continuous Improvement

Read More

Topics: Webinars

Typical Goals for Process Improvement Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 20, 2017 7:25:00 AM

We’ll start this blog with radical honesty by saying, we sell process improvement software. If you are thinking about buying process improvement software, that makes us happy. But what makes us even happier is when companies implement process improvement software in a way that helps them reach their most important business goals.

In fact, we don’t think that companies should deploy this kind of software unless they have a clearly defined vision of what success looks like.

Every company is trying to achieve something unique, of course, but we find some common goals for process improvement software among the most prepared organizations we encounter.

Here are a few.

Listen to this Post and Subscribe to the Podcast:

 

Read More

Topics: Software, Improvement Process

Some Recent Kaizen Event FAQs, Answered

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 14, 2017 7:42:00 AM

The beginning of summer must be a good time for Kaizen events because we’ve been getting a lot of questions about them lately. We thought we’d take a few minutes to answer the ones we hear most often. (If you are entirely new to Kaizen events, check out this page.)

 

Is a Kaizen event the same as a rapid improvement event?

Yep! The technique of deploying a team to be 100% focused on an improvement target for a short period of time goes by a bunch of names. You may also hear it called a Kaizen or improvement blitz.

Listen to this Post and Subscribe to the Podcast:

Read More

Topics: Kaizen

Lessons in Trust from David Ross’ Book "Teammate"

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 8, 2017 7:22:00 AM

Being an avid reader and a huge Chicago Cubs fan, when 2x World Series Champion and Dancing With The Stars Runner-Up David Ross announced his bookTeammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, I knew it was going to go to the top of my reading list.

Read More