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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

Causes and Solutions for Resistance to Lean in Construction

Posted by Matt Banna

May 15, 2018 11:27:56 AM

The Lean business management approach may have started with ideas formed in the Japanese auto industry, but today, it is used by industries of all sorts from healthcare to higher education. Many architecture, engineering, and construction companies are also leveraging the methodology to combat the fact that 80% of capital projects end up over budget or schedule, or both. As with anything new, there has been some resistance to the adoption of Lean in construction. This post takes a look at a few of the most common root causes for the reluctance to adopt Lean techniques and how to overcome them.

Value is centered on knowing vs. learning

In construction, a high value is placed on skilled craftwork. This is true for design and engineering as well as more traditional construction trades. Each group is proud of its abilities and is generally protective of their unique set of hard-won skills. Jobs in construction go to those who know how to ply their trade, not necessarily to those who need to learn. The idea that improvement is needed runs contrary to a culture centered around competence.

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Topics: Lean, lean construction

Everyday Examples of Visual Management

Posted by Matt Banna

May 8, 2018 10:46:52 AM

When we write about visual management, we are usually talking about sophisticated quality management tools like Kanban, huddle boards, and the dashboards available in the KaiNexus application. These are all incredibly valuable applications of visual management in the workplace, but visual management is actually all around you. Understanding these everyday examples of visualization may help you apply the same principles more thoughtfully at work.

Visual management falls into six categories based on the purpose.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Visual Management

Common Questions About Kanban Boards

Posted by Matt Banna

Apr 25, 2018 2:17:29 PM

One of the great things about working at KaiNexus is that our team has lots of insightful conversations with customers, prospects, consultants, trainers, and others interested in the tools and techniques associated with continuous improvement. We often get together and share notes on what topics are trending and what information people in the field are looking for.

Lately, the subject of Kanban and Kanban boards has come up quite a bit. We think this is driven by a larger trend toward visual management and dashboards for all business functions. It’s clear from our conversations that people have questions about how Kanban fits into a well-managed improvement culture.

We can’t claim to have all of the answers, but here are a few of the most important.

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Topics: Kanban, Visual Management

Fundamental Process Control Chart Concepts

Posted by Matt Banna

Apr 17, 2018 7:11:00 AM

Statistical control charts are a useful tool for managing and improving all sorts of processes. They’ve been used in manufacturing for decades and are increasingly popular in other industries from healthcare to higher education. Control charts give leaders a clear and consistent way of evaluating and talking about process behavior and performance. They help managers make good decisions about which processes are stable and which require attention.

While at first glance, they may look very simple, just a line graph with data points plotted over time, there are some important concepts that you should understand if you are new to the approach.

This post covers the basic, yet critical principles of control charts.

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Methodology, Visual Management

When to Use a Kaizen Event vs. Daily Kaizen

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 12, 2018 12:06:34 PM

We get the chance to talk to leaders implementing the Kaizen approach to continuous improvement on a regular basis. One of the questions people who are new to the Kaizen way often ask is, “Should I do daily Kaizen or Kaizen events?”

The short answer is, “Yes.”

Daily Kaizen is essential for tackling small problems before they become big ones and for sustaining improvements that have been implemented. Making continuous improvement part of everyone’s job forms the basis of Kaizen culture.

However, some challenges require a more focused approach. Kaizen events require a significant investment of human capital. The team puts their other work aside for three to five days to focus on the target process or problem. That’s not trivial, so Kaizen events aren’t always the right tool for the job. But here are some situations where they make perfect sense.  

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Topics: Kaizen

Home Runs and Strategy Deployment

Posted by Matt Banna

Feb 15, 2018 6:25:00 AM

Chicks dig the long ball. At least, that’s what the Nike ad from the late 90s told us. If you don’t recall this particular ad, you can watch it here. Simply put, the ad shows that everyone likes home runs better than base hits or strikeouts. And home runs are way cooler than bunting.

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Much of What People Say About Kaizen Events is Wrong

Posted by Matt Banna

Feb 9, 2018 6:30:00 AM

When someone comes to us asking for information about our Kaizen software, we like to ask a ton of questions. It helps us to understand their business and their approach to improvement. We ask about the team, the key business objectives, and past improvement efforts.

The subject of Kaizen events comes up often because so many organizations have tried or are looking to try the technique. These conversations reveal that there is a lot of “fake news” floating around about Kaizen events.

We’d like to set the record straight.

Here are things people say about Kaizen events that aren’t true:

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Topics: Kaizen

Our Best 6 Tips for Implementing Lean Construction

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 18, 2018 7:45:00 AM

We are starting to see a sharp increase in the number of construction companies that are coming to us in search of a software solution to support their efforts to implement Lean management principles.

Many leaders in the space recognize that they can reduce costs, improve safety, deliver more value, and adhere to budgets by applying the tools and techniques that have been popular in healthcare and manufacturing for so long.

For those in that camp, we’d like to share some important advice that we have learned from our clients in construction and related industries.

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Topics: Lean

9 Answers to the Most Common Questions About Gemba Walks

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 9, 2018 7:06:00 AM

Maybe it is because it is a brand-new year, or perhaps it is the cold weather, but lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Lean management technique of Gemba walks. We compiled them for this post that we hope will be helpful for people who are new to the approach and even seasoned pros who want to get more from each visit to the workplace.

What is a Gemba Walk?

Gemba walks are an improvement technique used in the Lean business methodology and by others who are interested in continuous improvement. During a Gemba walk a supervisor, manager, or other leader goes to the place where work is done to get deeper insight into how processes are performing and to spot potential opportunities improvement. The technique is often described as:

  • Go see
  • Ask why
  • Show respect
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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Improvement Methodology

A Pro Tip for Getting More Out of Your Investment in Lean Consultants

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 12, 2017 8:23:00 AM

When starting a new project or initiative, it's helpful to call an expert. Sports coaches, tutors, and even chefs, offer their services to both beginners and experts to help guide and lead them to success.

One thing that great coaches do is talk about the right tools. A baseball coach can’t teach batters how to hit with a shoddy bat and a chef can’t be effective with a cheap knife.

The same goes for improvement coaches and consultants. Consultants are brought in for help because they provide the knowledge and skills to create, spread, and maintain a culture of continuous improvement. Lean coaches accomplish these goals in a variety of ways, often teaching problem-solving techniques, sourcing ideas, and promoting open dialogues.

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