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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

10 Continuous Improvement Questions to Ask in Every Interview

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 13, 2019 11:19:41 AM

Companies dedicated to the practice of continuous improvement invest a lot of time and resources into training their employees and creating a culture centered around positive change. One way to make this easier and to smooth the path to improvement is to hire people who already have the right mindset.

Bringing up continuous improvement during the initial interview and throughout the hiring process lets the applicant know how important it is to your organization, and helps you weed out people who will be resistant to feedback and change.

If you ask the right questions, you can get a pretty good idea of whether the candidate is likely to be a good fit in your improvement culture and someone that the rest of the team will gladly welcome.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

What is Leader Standard Work?

Posted by Matt Banna

Feb 21, 2019 8:42:00 AM

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.

Many organizations have little in the way of documented best practices for leaders. Supervisors, managers, and directors are left with only their job description to guide their daily activities. Given this reality, it's not surprising that many fail to start, spread, and sustain the continuous improvement mindset.

The alternative is leader standard work which is a set of actions, tools, and behaviors that are incorporated into the daily activities of leaders at all levels. Like the standard work for any process, leader standard work must be documented, practiced consistently, and changed only with reflection and experimentation.

Although the specifics of leader standard work vary across organizations, some practices are universally useful and commonly included.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

What Are the Most Popular Methods for Managing Continuous Improvement?

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 10, 2019 8:11:00 AM

Organizations that embrace the continuous improvement approach to business have many great tools and techniques from which to choose. Some organizations use them as part of a structured methodology like Lean, Six Sigma, or Toyota Kata. Others leverage them on their own. Every organization has unique needs and will need to adjust each method for their own environment, but the most popular techniques are flexible enough to be used by organizations of every size and in every industry.

 

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology, DMAIC, Visual Management

How Software can Turbocharge Your DMAIC Process

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 4, 2019 8:12:00 AM

A turbocharger is a turbine-driven forced induction device that increases an internal combustion engine's efficiency and power output by forcing extra compressed air into the combustion chamber. This improvement over a naturally aspirated engine's power output is because the compressor can force more air—and proportionately more fuel—into the combustion chamber than atmospheric pressure alone.
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Topics: Software, DMAIC

What to Include in Your Kaizen Event Template

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 6, 2018 7:34:53 AM

This post is the second in our series about Kaizen Event Templates. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, check out our guide to the ultimate pre-event template. We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the success of a Kaizen event is highly correlated to the amount of effort put into planning and preparation. Our pre-event template will help.

You’ll also want a template to use when the big day arrives. Our clients who get the most from Kaizen events use a standard template so that all of the right information is captured and can be shared in a familiar format. Kaizen software supports this by allowing users to create and disseminate their event templates.

You will probably have some unique needs or elements to capture, but here are the basics for a useful and simple Kaizen event template.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

Using a Structured Continuous Improvement Cycle? Software Can Help.

Posted by Matt Banna

Nov 28, 2018 1:50:24 PM

Most organizations that practice continuous improvement whether within a business methodology like Lean or Six Sigma or independently leverage either the PDSA or DMAIC structured improvement cycle. Some organizations use both. PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) is perfect for relatively simple, iterative improvement work. DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) is ideal for data-driven, more complex initiatives. (This post explains more about when to use each approach.)

Regardless of which continuous improvement cycle is right for your current challenge, software can accelerate the speed to success, ensure that improvement is long lasting , and help you measure the results of the effort. Here’s how it helps at each state of both cycles.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, DMAIC

5 Incredibly Powerful Lean Visual Management Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 31, 2018 9:11:00 AM

Visual management tools surround us - although they are so ubiquitous, we might not even think about them. When your car is about to run out of gas, a light will alert you to the problem. You’ve probably got a message waiting indicator on your desk phone. Your fitness app may even show you how close you are to your daily goal. Your brain can quickly process these visual clues and use the information to make decisions.

The Lean business approach takes advantage of this fact and leverages several powerful tools for management and improvement. You don’t have to be all in on Lean to take advantage of them. Any organization striving for continuous improvement can benefit.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Visual Management

Shake Up the Status Quo by Crowdsourcing Innovation

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 24, 2018 8:11:00 AM

When people think of innovation, they often leap to major breakthroughs like a new treatment for illness, an alternative form of energy, or a new detail device. However, Dictionary.com defines innovation as, “A change in something established, especially by introducing new methods or ideas.” In companies, small changes like fine-tuning a process, or solving a nagging problem can be as critical to success as a new product introduction or a massive shift in the business model.

The challenge for many organizations is that change is hard. According to a survey by Gartner, "The biggest threat to innovation is internal politics and an organizational culture which doesn’t accept failure, doesn’t accept ideas from outside, and/or cannot change." The barrier isn’t that people don’t have great ideas; its that there are roadblocks that prevent those ideas from being considered and enacted.

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Topics: Innovation Software

Toyota, Bourbon, and Continuous Improvement

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 17, 2018 11:56:45 AM

One of the greatest benefits of working at KaiNexus is our commitment to learning and growth. I was thrilled when Kade Janssen and I were given the opportunity to attend the first Symposium on Learning Organizations: Agile, Lean, Deming, and More hosted by Mark Graban, Dion Stewart, and Joel Tosi.

The Symposium started off with a visit to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) in San Antonio, Texas. Although this was Kade’s and my second trip to the Toyota manufacturing plant, there was still lots to learn.

First was the visitor’s center. It had been completely redesigned from our previous trip. Aside from still having the ever-present Andon-cord, Toyota added a number of hands-on activities, including a car door spray paint video game, an example of the automated motorized cart tugs, and a demonstration of their weight-assisted chair movers.

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Lean Management Software: Why, What, and How?

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 12, 2018 9:45:00 AM

The three most common questions we get about Lean management software are:

  • Why do we need it?
  • What does it do? And,
  • How do we implement it?

These are all excellent questions. This post has the answers.

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