I've been writing for ages about how continuous improvement software increases the number of improvements captured in any organization. It's sheerly a numbers game - without software, you're going to be limited in how many people participate in improvement and how engaged those that are participating actually are on a daily basis. Continuous improvement software, on the other hand, scales to accommodate the unique workflows from around your organization to engage every employee in improving their own work and gives them an easy way to capture their ideas. Leaders, in turn, are better able to manage that influx of ideas, which then incentivizes increased engagement. More engagement equals more improvements. You see the cycle here, right?
At the 2016 KaiNexus User Conference, I had the chance to sit down and talk with some of our customers about how KaiNexus has impacted the capturing of improvements in their organizations.
Here's what they had to say:
"I believe [KaiNexus] is a way to track all those ideas that come from associates that are doing the job. I strongly believe that we have to listen to people's concerns who are actually doing the job, those who know what it takes to do it and do it well."
Yadira Villamil R. | Packing Assistant Manager | Four Seasons Produce
You hire smart, capable people to work in your company. Failing to engage those people in improving the organization is one of the biggest mistakes modern companies make. Successful companies recognize that the people who are doing the work have the best, most effective ideas for how to improve their work. Of course, this makes sense - why would an executive in an office know where materials in a production line should be placed in order to maximize efficiency?
The problem a lot of people come up against when engaging their front lines in improvement, though, is that it's difficult to keep track of where the ideas are coming from, where each idea is in the improvement cycle, and the overall health of the improvement culture.
This is where KaiNexus comes into play.
KaiNexus' continuous improvement platform provides a standard way to capture the ideas of your staff from around the organization. From hospital and manufacturing floors to offices, construction sites, and mines, employees are able to quickly capture opportunities for improvement on the fly.
Those ideas are then routed to the correct manager - wherever they are - who then evaluates and assigns them out to be implemented. Once the improvement has been made, the impact is recorded and the improvement is shared with others across the organization to maximize the impact.
KaiNexus gives managers the visibility they need to keep up with the influx of improvements, enabling them to determine where their help is needed and make data-backed decisions about where to invest time and resources. Employees are empowered to improve their own work, which encourages them to identify and implement more improvements.
Engagement & Coaching
"[KaiNexus] helps us capture the ideas from the staff that are on off-shifts and weekends. Even though we can't have that face-to-face [interraction] with them all the time, at least they have a system they can put it in for us, and it helps them to have that engagement."
Melanie Vorsten | Laboratory Manager | Mary Greeley Medical Center
Anyone who has tried to start, spread, or sustain an improvement culture knows how hard it is for a small team to lead an organization-wide transformation. You know that people need quick responses to their engagement, recognition for a job well done, and individualized coaching to hone their improvement skills, but you can't be everywhere at once.
KaiNexus makes it possible for improvement coaches to keep a high-level overview of all the improvement work going on in the organization, with the ability to drill down into any area of the organization for more information. Bottleneck reports instantly highlight trouble areas so you know where to focus your attention, activity and engagement reports show where people are excelling and struggling, and digital boards provide insight into the nuanced improvement work across the organization.
In this way, improvement leaders are able to engage more people in improvement with the same amount of resources. You become more efficient and effective in your coaching, and engagement increases as a direct result.
"Moving to KaiNexus allowed us to compile all of our ideas and share them not just with our small group, but across our company."
- Jake Snyder | Chair of the LCI Austin Community of Practice
Alignment is a biggie. Time and time again, we've met with people who are frustrated that their company keeps solving the same problems again and again, to no avail. The problem is that their managers and employees are working within siloes, and no one knows what anyone else is doing. They're usually tracking their improvements in spreadsheets scattered in each department, but there's little to no communication between departments regarding who has done what. This failure to proactively share information means that they're failing to achieve their strategic initiatives. Why? Because even when everyone knows what the goals are, they're not building off each other's work to actually get there.
KaiNexus solves this problem by:
- Standardizing the Improvement & Resolution Process
When you do all of your improvement work in KaiNexus, from A3s and PDSA to Kaizen Events and Strategy Deployment, you're doing it all within the same flexible structure. You set up a variety of templates to meet the customized needs of your organization, and then those templates are what everyone uses to track their improvements. This makes it possible to aggregate results and compare apples to apples from across the company.
- Alerting People to Possible Duplicates
When you log an improvement in KaiNexus, the system automatically notifies you if the idea you're entering is similar to any that already exist. For example, if you're entering an improvement about how to keep your supply closet organized, you might see that another department has implemented a few improvements and solved this problem already. At that point, you can jump in on the conversation and contribute your idea, apply what they've already learned, or build a cross-functional team to implement new changes! This ensures that your people aren't constantly reinventing the wheel.
- Sharing Improvements
When you complete an improvement in KaiNexus, you're walked through a customizable resolution process that ensures everyone logs the information you need, every time. As part of that resolution process, they're given the opportunity to broadcast the improvement to relevant people and departments. This means that if someone broadcasts an idea saving $1,000 per year in their own department and it's picked up in 10 other departments, the impact of that single improvement has increased ten fold.
Getting everyone on the same page regarding what improvements are in progress and what's been done already means that your standard work is gradually improved, and your results steadily improve in pursuit of your strategic goals. Everyone is not only pulling in the same direction, but actually pulling together. Aligning improvement in this way is how to actually achieve objectives.
For more information about KaiNexus' continuous improvement platform, download this free eBook now:
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