The best part about being involved in a Lean Community is the community - and we’ve been thrilled to discover a thriving Lean community here in our own backyard in Austin, Texas.
KaiNexus is part of the Austin branch of Lean Construction Institute. Lean Construction Institute (LCI) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1997. The Institute operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices.
They provide a way for lean construction practitioners to meet, share, and learn more about lean in the construction industry. Each year, LCI holds a major conference that brings hundreds of companies and lean practitioners together. Check out how to register for this year’s event in Anaheim, CA here.
At the Austin branch of LCI, members meet once a month for breakfast, lunch, or happy hour, and there is often a presentation involved. These presentations usually revolve around organizational success stories, best practices, and various other lean topics. For example, in December, HOAR Construction presented on how they incorporate lean principles in a construction environment and the resources they use to achieve results.
Being a part of a community like the Lean Construction Institute allows organizations to learn from each other and help solve issues regarding engagement, standardization, and best practices.
Although the gathering of the Lean Construction Austin community is relatively new, it is a highly attended event. Each month, dozens of people from just as many organizations show up to talk and learn about continuous improvement. We’ve only been attending these events for a few months, but already we can see the enthusiasm for the organization grow as attendance increases.
One of the founding members of the Austin chapter of LCI is Jake Snyder, the Director of Engineering at BSA LifeStructures. Jake started his personal lean journey in healthcare with Lean Healthcare Yellow Belt and Six Sigma Green Belt certifications but is now a key player in the Lean efforts at BSA. He helped transition the company from paper Kaizen boards and excel spreadsheets to a full-fledged continuous improvement software platform. (Check out his work on that transition here).
Sharing What We’ve Learned
We were thrilled when Jake asked us to present at the February meeting of Austin LCI. At KaiNexus, our company mission is to “Spread Continuous Improvement” - and this was a great opportunity to do just that.
KaiNexus is uniquely positioned because of how often we discuss creating an improvement culture with different people and industries around the world. We learn from them, they learn from us, and the result is that we have an uncommonly expansive understanding of the hurdles organizations face and proven strategies for overcoming those challenges. On the front lines of those conversations is Jeff Roussel, our VP of Sales, who has been with KaiNexus for over three years. His presentation at LCI was the perfect opportunity to share what he’s learned about successful continuous improvement programs.
Jeff spoke at length to the attendees of the February meeting about the necessity of “the three-legged stool”: engaged leadership, a consistent methodology, and an enabling technology.
An engaged leadership is the first of the three-legged stool. Leadership needs to be involved in the continuous improvement conversation. If a leader repeatedly stresses the importance of continuous improvement, the rest of the organization will know it is a priority.
Having a simple, consistent methodology is important for a few reasons. First, it gives a structured process for what to do when an idea is submitted. The worst outcome an idea can have is to be ignored. Next, methodology helps everyone stay on the same page. Regardless of geographic location, everyone is doing improvement work the same way. Last, methodology ensures a structure to the improvement program, making it part of everyone’s daily work.
Everyone is using different forms of technology for continuous improvement - paper/pencil, Excel, Access, Sharepoint, software, etc. Using a form of technology is important in being able to capture and share ideas with other people. Obviously we’re a little biased in which technology is best to use, but nonetheless, we believe that creating a culture of continuous improvement will not be successful without a technology to lean on.
Without all three legs of the stool working in conjunction, an improvement culture has a good chance of failing. Without leadership, the culture can fall by the wayside. Without methodology, no one is ever on the same page. Without technology, ideas cannot be spread and shared in an organization.
Subscribe to the KaiNexus blog to find out more about how these three work together to support your continuous improvement program.