Wrapping up Customer Recognition Month, we hosted two very special customers on our panel webinar—Rob Pitney from UMass Memorial Health and Jon Brown from Crosby's. They shared how the pandemic has impacted them, their continuous improvement practices, and how KaiNexus is a big part of their approach and success. This post is a recap of the webinar—watch the video linked below for more detail plus additional Q&A.
UMass Memorial Health is the largest health care system in Central Massachusetts, offering the region’s most sophisticated medical technology and support services. Rob Pitney, Process Improvement Engagement and System Co-Owner, joined the UMass team just six months ago. With over 15,000 caregivers, paper-based process improvement was tough to keep organized and efficient. Especially when the pandemic hit, this method was not going to work anymore—they needed continuous improvement software like KaiNexus to facilitate their improvement work. Rob helped spearhead the continuous improvement movement within UMass.
While molasses continue to be the business’s mainstay, Crosby’s has an ever-expanding line of dry-sugar-based products and syrups, distribution in Canada, the New England States, and other international locations. Jon Brown, Continuous Improvement Manager, has overseen Crobsy's continuous improvement program since 2016. With 150 employees, Jon built their continuous improvement program from the ground up. They’ve been a partner with KaiNexus for about two years.
Over the past year, our world as we know it has been turned upside down due to COVID-19. Businesses had to change how they performed day-to-day operations fast. Many companies, including UMass and Crosbys, did not have remote employees or teams and quickly made adjustments to continue in a virtual world. With people staying at home and baking more than ever, demand for Crosby products doubled. Although this sounds great, they had a problem on their hands. Many front-line workers were unable to come into work due to COVID concerns, so Jon had to pivot entirely from his role to the front line, jumping in to help with production. Jon credits many new ideas for improvement from his time working on the front line!
Much like Jon and the Crosby’s team, Rob describes their experience through the pandemic as an "all-hands-on-deck" situation. The pandemic essentially put a hold on everything. UMass put all its resources into testing, field hospitals, and vaccine distribution. Along with this, many of their teams transitioned to remote work. This meant their daily in-person, whiteboard huddles were not going to be an option anymore. KaiNexus was the perfect solution to facilitate these huddles virtually and keep the team collaboration going.
How do you use KaiNexus to help Facilitate and Support Bottom-up Improvement Work?
Jon shared that Crosbys wasn't utilizing “Just Do Its” until about two years ago, when their continuous improvement journey began. A “Just Do It” is a lean approach often used to correct process problems when “the solution is known.” Some prefer this approach for its ability to make a quick decision and begin implementation immediately. During the beginning of their CI journey, Jon and his team visited other facilities to learn and observe best practices. They were exposed to “Just Do Its” during these visits—a lean improvement work method. They immediately began implementing this in their system. At first, their process improvement was done by paper into a suggestion box. KaiNexus streamlined this process and made it virtual and completely trackable. They found that KaiNexus helped foster engagement since they can track each and every idea from start to finish. Now, they have a huddle board in KaiNexus for each “Just Do It” program in each area.
Rob shared similar experiences as Jon's, saying they did not see the value in a suggestion box and that their paper-based process improvement created bottlenecks for the team. They needed to find a way to promote idea-sharing and help employees overcome the daunting nature of submitting an idea. but they did not set proper expectations with their team either. To solve this, they set the proper expectation with their team that they are not looking for big ideas to improve the hospital overall, but just employees' departments that would benefit their day-to-day. The expectation of submitting ideas at the employees’ level makes the thought of submitting an idea much less daunting and more realistic. Even with 15,000 users, Rob shares that users have been open to the system and have thus far found it pretty intuitive and straightforward.
How has the KaiNexus team helped you?
Jon described their initial KaiNexus rollout as highly organized and had support from the KaiNexus team every step of the way. With the help of the Manager of Customer Success, Taylor Edwards, they developed a completely custom system to suit exactly what they needed from the software. Jon notes that Taylor always reaches out with new features and ways to help the team, which is refreshing to find in a partner.
Rob detailed a similar rollout experience. The KaiNexus team went beyond to work as a true partner. Rob credits Kade Jansson, Manager of Solutions Engineering, for facilitating the strategic design of KaiNexus, Adam Darnell, Training and Enablement Manager, for the outstanding custom videos he created for UMass, and Taylor Edwards for being invaluable throughout the entire process.
We want to give a huge thank you to Jon Brown and Rob Pitney for joining us on this webinar panel. These customers represent so many different dimensions of the KaiNexus customer base. Even with so many differences, they share the bottom line of teamwork, idea sharing, and collaboration. You can watch this webinar and check out other informative presentations here. Be sure to stay tuned for future training sessions, webinars, and podcasts.