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What To Do With Small Problems

Posted by Greg Jacobson

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Dec 16, 2014, 9:02:00 AM

Little_by_littleAs part of our efforts to share valuable Lean practices with our readers, we've created a series of education videos. Each video covers an improvement principle in 2-3 minutes, providing you with a quick nugget of best practice information. Don't forget to share with your staff and colleagues!




In this video:

Practicing continuous improvement every day is about finding the small problems that interfere with our work or what our customers need. Lots of times, we might face a really small problem - something that interrupts us or delays our work for just a minute - and then we go on with our day. We might think it’s just not a big deal, but if that problem is a recurring problem, the type of fire that we’re always fighting, then fixing that problem helps us many times over, every day in the future multiplied by all of our coworkers who might face that same problem.

One real opportunity for improvement that was entered in KaiNexus involved ordering foot xrays. Patients were sometimes getting a two-view xray, instead of a three-view. In a world before KaiNexus, after getting the two-view xray results the physician would likely just order the third view and then go about their day, but this causes delays for the patients and extra work for radiology.

Another example happened at one of our semiconductor customers. A seemingly simple opportunity for improvement recommended that they change the order in which fields were inputted for their online invoices. This simple change led to a much more accurate invoice and saved them countless hours of rework.

With KaiNexus, it’s important to ask what we can do to improve the process so we can prevent problems, in this case making sure the third view was ordered correctly, or that the invoice was inputted properly, getting them right the first time. A lot of times, things like this aren’t even viewed as problems. But when a problem like this is entered into KaiNexus even when you don’t know the root cause or the solution, it increases visibility into the problem and people can work together to fix it. In these cases, technology wasn’t the problem; both the xrays and invoices were sometimes entered wrong due to inconsistent orientation for new staff members, and that’s something that can be improved which ensures correct orders in the future. In situations like this, discussion often uncovers additional problems and root causes that can be addressed based off of that initial problem. Improvement leads to more improvement. So instead of just dealing with issues, people are using KaiNexus to address root causes and prevent future problems.

Watch more videos from the KaiNexus Education Video series.

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