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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

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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Yes, You Can Improve Without Kaizen Software. But Why Would You Want To?

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 8, 2017 7:15:00 AM

We are occasionally asked if it is possible to implement Kaizen without using software .

The answer is yes.

It is possible to adopt a continuous improvement mindset, embrace the belief that positive change is everyone’s responsibility, and execute improvement projects all without a dedicated solution to support the effort. Heck, Toyota did it before email was a thing.

However, we can say with confidence that organizations that do choose to leverage a Kaizen software solution see more impactful improvements in a shorter period of time. They are able to manage more projects and capture more opportunities.

This post is about how and why.

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Topics: Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Software

Best Practices for Successful Kaizen Events

Posted by Matt Banna

Nov 20, 2017 1:54:47 PM

You know what phrase makes us very sad?

“We tried that before and it didn’t work.”

We hate hearing that because too often a failure or two prevents organizations from using improvement techniques with huge potential benefits. Unfortunately, we’ve heard this sad statement regarding Kaizen events.

When we dig into what happened, we usually find that the event was never set up for success. On the flip side, we have clients that credit Kaizen events for their most important accomplishments.

Here’s what they do really well.

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How Visual Management and Visibility Helps Lean Consultants

Posted by Matt Banna

Nov 10, 2017 5:27:00 AM

When you’re a Lean consultant, a big part of your job is to visit your clients on site and help coach them and build their Lean or continuous improvement program. Of course you want to have a big impact while you’re there, but more importantly, you want the results you help your clients achieve to sustain in the long run. In order for that to happen, you need visibility into what your clients are doing on a daily basis.

If you’re lucky, all of your clients are right in your backyard.

But what if they’re more spread out? What if they have multiple locations around the country - or even the world? You might be in San Francisco one week and New York the next.

What problems arise when your clients are spread out and you can’t be everywhere at once?

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Post-Conference: How the KaiNexus Team Debriefs and Improves

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 31, 2017 2:01:00 PM

Attending a conference and running a booth are completely different experiences.

The KaiNexus team frequently attends conferences - maybe you saw us this year at the Iowa Lean Consortium, the Lean Construction Institute, and the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit to name a few - to learn more about Lean and support our customers attending these events.

A couple weeks back, the KaiNexus team pulled double duty and attended the Association for Manufacturing Excellence conference in Boston, MA and the Lean Construction Institute conference in Anaheim, CA in back-to-back weeks.

Our goals for the conferences were to see our current customers, learn from the speakers in breakout sessions, see how other vendors set up their booths, and meet as many people as possible.

After the conferences were over, the KaiNexus team gathered together for a debrief. A debrief is a team gathering that discusses positives and areas for improvement after projects or events. In this debrief we discussed our goals heading into the conferences, what we believed our successes to be and how we can improve for future conference outings.

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10 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Lean Construction Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 23, 2017 10:37:47 AM

The Lean management approach has been used in manufacturing, healthcare, and the technology sector for decades. These days, more and more construction firms are realizing that the Lean model has many benefits to offer in terms of project profitability, timely completion, customer satisfaction, and safety. Many firms have realized that the best way to make Lean successful is to implement software designed to support it. There are many options in the market, so it pays to do some serious due diligence before selecting a platform.

While you will certainly have some questions that are specific to your firm, here are some of the most important questions to ask each vendor that you consider.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

Essential Elements of Effective Lean Training

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 10, 2017 7:40:00 AM

The Lean methodology offers a very different approach to work than most people have experienced. It requires both a change in mindset and the use of various tools and techniques. Organizations that successfully adopt Lean and reap the many benefits have a number of things in common. They embrace the approach wholeheartedly, creating a Lean culture. They deploy software to support the practice, and they effectively train employees when it is introduced, when new employees join the organization, and when needed to refresh and improve the team’s understanding of lean.  

Any thorough Lean training curriculum should include these critical elements.

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Topics: Lean

Advice on Daily Huddles, Scope Creep and Shifting Your Focus

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 4, 2017 9:29:48 AM

In episode 16 of our webinar series Ask Us Anything, which you can find here, KaiNexus CEO and Co-founder Greg Jacobson and Mark Graban, our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org, answered more questions from KaiNexus webinar viewers.

 

If you don't have time to watch the video, we have summarized the second half of that episode right here. You can also read the summary of the first half of that episode on our blog here.

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A Simple Introduction to Putting Process Control Charts to Work

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 29, 2017 9:07:00 AM

We’ve written a few posts introducing process control charts and explaining why they are so useful. Today we want to dig a little bit deeper and get into the weeds of actually putting them to work.

As we’ve noted, a process control chart is a graph used to monitor how a process behaves over time. Data are plotted in time order. A control chart always has a central line for the average (sometimes a median), an upper line for the upper control limit, and a lower line for the lower control limit. These lines are calculated from historical data and usually cover three standard deviations from the mean.

Process control charts help get managers out of the trap of overrreacting to every up and down in the data. It also helps avoid problems caused by only looking at average results. Instead, they help leaders understand the variation of results. Why does variation matter? Consider an example, if you are planning an event and are told that the average age of attendees is 32, you might ponder a swanky cocktail party. But in reality, your guests might include many children and elderly people, who aren’t interested in a dry martini. More information is always better.

So where to begin? Here is a quick guide to implementing and using process control charts.

 

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Visual Management

Break Through Common Barriers to Improvement with CQI Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 20, 2017 12:40:15 PM

Given the nature of our business, you can probably imagine that we get the chance to talk to lots of folks who are struggling to create a culture of improvement that lasts.

One of the most common emotions that these leaders express is frustration. It’s fairly obvious that improvement is good for everyone in the organization. “Why doesn’t it just happen on its own, or with some support from management?” they ask.

Our experience with clients over the years has taught us that there are some barriers that get in the way of positive change. The good news is that CQI software can help break them down.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

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