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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

6 Principles of Lean Construction

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 11, 2020 2:29:58 PM

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 project delivery is very different than traditional construction methods. This makes 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.  

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.

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Topics: Lean

11 Rapid Continuous Improvement Tools and Techniques Explained

Posted by Matt Banna

May 13, 2020 5:49:33 PM

Leaders who want to develop a culture of rapid continuous improvement have many tools at their disposal. So many, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep them all in mind when deciding how to execute an opportunity for improvement or to address a difficult challenge. Or course, most organizations don’t use all of them at any one time, but each can be remarkably effective when applied to the right situation.

We put together a list of the most common and useful improvement tools and techniques that you can start implementing today.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

Leadership During Times of Uncertainty

Posted by Matt Banna

Apr 13, 2020 4:00:00 PM

The coronavirus pandemic that is currently gripping the globe is unlike any other crisis that we have seen. It will directly impact the lives of those who are exposed and their families. It will indirectly change the lives of everyone else as events are canceled, schools and businesses close, and everyone is responsible for social distancing.

Although it won't be very easy amid concerns for the wellbeing of yourself and your loved ones, how you handle this situation is of profound significance to your employees and other business associates who count on your leadership.

While this crisis is utterly unique, the principles of leadership during times of uncertainty apply, nonetheless. Below are some ways you can be a source of reassurance and support for your team.

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Topics: Leadership

Put Your Suggestion Box Online to Help Avoid Becoming The Office?

Posted by Matt Banna

Feb 3, 2020 10:40:48 AM

If the internet is any clue, I’m not the only one who was prompted by its 10th anniversary to re-watch a bunch of old episodes of The Office.

(For fans, there’s a great new podcast called Office Ladies featuring Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela). They walk through each episode sharing the inside scoop.)

There’s an episode during the second season in which Dunder Mifflin Paper Company’s branch manager, Michael Scott, learns that his boss is coming for a visit later that day to hear his ideas on how to make the branch perform better.

Of course, he’s Michael Scott, so he has no idea how to make the branch perform better. In a panic, he remembers that there is a suggestion box for collecting employee ideas for improvement. He figures that is the solution to his situation. He calls all of the employees into the conference room and opens the box.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Suggestion Systems, Improvement Culture

Three Insights Into Operational Excellence

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 15, 2020 1:32:07 PM

The Shingo Institute is a program in the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. It is named after Dr. Shigeo Shingo, a Japanese industrial engineer, and Toyota advisor. Dr. Shingo is recognized as one of the world’s thought leaders in terms of improvement techniques, management systems, and business culture concepts. His work contributed to the Toyota Production System. The Shingo Institute is known for it’s Shingo Prize, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that fosters continuous improvement. Business Week once called it the “Noble Prize of Improvement.”

Drawing from Dr. Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations worldwide, the Shingo Institute developed the Shingo Model™, which introduces the Shingo Guiding Principles that outline the path to enterprise excellence.

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Topics: Operational Excellence

Employee Engagement in 2020 – Meeting the Needs of Millennials

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 23, 2019 1:09:00 PM

By the end of next year, Millennials (those born between about 1980 and 2000) are expected to comprise half of the American workforce. By 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will belong to this group. Many large companies, including Ernst & Young and Accenture, have already reported that Millennials make up over two-thirds of their entire employee base.

In some ways, millennials aren't much different than previous generations. They want the opportunity to learn and grow while making a living that will support their families.

But there are some differences in how this generation that grew up amid modern technology and global connectedness approaches work. For example, nine out of every 10 Millennials expect to change jobs every three years. This means most Millennials will have 15 to 20 jobs in their lifetimes. A far different reality than the baby boomer ideal of being a "company man" for life.

With the changing expectations of the younger workforce, employers need to adapt to find workable solutions that help everyone meet their goals. That's leading to a change in the traditional approach to employee engagement.

Company picnics and Employee of the Month programs are giving way to more meaningful engagement strategies. Here are a few that will continue to gain traction in 2020.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture

Digital Continuous Improvement – A New Approach for a New Age

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 13, 2019 10:36:22 AM

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 digital age is upon us, and we can make calls from anywhere, send money with a click, click through hundreds of channels, and buy movie tickets with an app. Change isn’t always easy, but for those who embrace them, 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, R&D, production, 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

Trick or Treat? The Scary Facts About Employee Engagement

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 17, 2019 10:35:00 AM

It’s almost time for Halloween when all the ghosts and monsters come out of hiding to give folks a scare. Fortunately, it’s all in fun. But there is something that should be truly frightening to business leaders, and that’s research about employee engagement and motivation.

Gallup has measured the state of the workplace for more than twenty years. Their research digs deep into the motivating and demotivating factors for employees and sheds light on what leaders can do to create the conditions for attraction, retention, and engagement.

There’s definitely some good news in the data, but let’s start with the scary stuff.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition

24 Business Process Improvement Examples to Prime the Pump

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 3, 2019 11:10:14 AM

One of the biggest challenges we hear from organizations that are new to the world of 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 some questions to ask, leaders can spark ideas and get people thinking innovatively.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process

High Reliability Culture – The Not-so-Secret Sauce

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 27, 2019 8:32:00 AM

Before I spent a lot of time learning, thinking, and writing about how businesses operate and what separates those that successfully achieve their mission and those that don’t, I took a lot of things for granted. I never worried that my plane would crash, I wasn’t afraid that the power plant near my house would explode, nor was I concerned that the aircraft carrier my neighbor’s son calls home would come to harm. Sure, all of those adverse events do occur, but they are so rare that most of us just don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them.

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Topics: HRO, Improvement Culture

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