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Everything Continuous Improvement


Jeff Roussel

As the Vice President of Sales at KaiNexus, Jeff Roussel is responsible for all aspects of sales and leads. He is fanatical about building a team that demonstrates the business value and fit of the KaiNexus solutions. With more than 15 years of sales and leadership experience in enterprise software, Jeff brings a wealth of guidance to our growing company and market. Prior to KaiNexus, Jeff was one of the first enterprise directors at Spredfast, helping organizations create great social media experiences for their customers. Previously, he was a sales engineer and an account executive at Invodo and Postini, the latter of which was acquired by Google in 2007. Jeff also maintains a position on the board of advisors for the Austin-based social media agency Social Distillery. A Texan by choice, Jeff maintains his Louisiana roots with a love of cooking, and he spends his free time with his wife and three step-kids. Jeff has an MBA from St. Edwards University in Austin and a bachelor of science from LSU.
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Recent Posts

Software's Role In Measuring Continuous Improvement

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Feb 15, 2021 11:01:00 AM

The most common way organizations manage continuous improvement is with an assortment of improvement tools, spreadsheets, and email. We call this a "Franken-system."

A continuous improvement Franken-System can take many forms; you probably know them well. Perhaps you manage daily improvement with a physical Kaizen board that hangs on the wall. Maybe leaders get email updates when changes are made to the board. Do you take photos of the board so that a snapshot is captured? Are improvement tasks scheduled in a spreadsheet while project plans are kept in Word? Does every department have its approach? If so, you are certainly not alone.

The problem with this disconnected, chaotic approach to measuring improvement results is that there is no one vision of the truth. Spreadsheets are notoriously error-prone. Physical boards and assets like A3s and value stream maps are hard to share widely and don't inspire collaboration. Lack of standardization opens up improvement reporting to subjectivity and uncertainty. Data-driven leaders will doubt your results and possibly write off continuous improvement altogether.

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Topics: ROI of KaiNexus, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Methodology

Continuous Improvement Principles in Manufacturing

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Nov 23, 2020 11:21:54 AM

These days, organizations of all types embrace the concept of continuous improvement. Still, there's a reason that many of the most popular tools and techniques for improvement and waste reduction began in the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing is complicated. There are issues of materials management, complex equipment, specialized employee responsibilities, production deadlines, and many more.

More complicated processes and systems mean increased opportunity for error and inefficiency. Both can waste time and cost money, impacting the total profits for an organization.

Dedication to continuous improvement is an approach to cutting these inefficiencies, reducing waste, and enhancing processes. Continuous improvement in manufacturing focuses on increasing customer value, reducing waste, and optimizing factory operations. Further, the goal is to build a culture of improvement where workers notice and act on opportunities to improve their work and share ideas for innovation.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Culture

Process Improvement Tools for New Managers

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jan 22, 2020 7:15:00 AM

Taking responsibility for managing the work of others for the first time can be somewhat intimidating. Now, you are in a position to magnify your impact on the organization by helping others produce outstanding results. While it is true that there’s no substitute for experience, there are some proven tools and techniques that can help you hit the ground running. Here are a few of our favorites.

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Topics: Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

3 Easy to Implement Quality Management Techniques

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 5, 2019 5:12:00 AM

Quality management is probably one of the most often written about subjects in business. There are hundreds of books and thousands of blog posts with advice on how to improve quality. Some organizations opt to adopt comprehensive process management methodologies like Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, Toyota Production System, or Lean manufacturing.

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Topics: Quality, Operational Excellence

Tips on Generating More (and Better) Ideas from Employees

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Nov 26, 2019 8:43:00 AM

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” – Linus Pauling

If your organization is like most, there are people walking around the building right now who know how to solve your most vexing problems, reduce waste, and increase customer satisfaction. These people aren’t in the board room. They are the front-line workers who are closest to your products, processes, and customers. This reality frustrates many managers and executives. “Why don’t they just speak up?” is a common refrain.

The truth is that toxic work cultures have trained most people that their ideas are not welcome. Sometimes feedback generates backlash and condemnation. (Aren’t you a team player?) Other times employee suggestions are simply ignored. Over time, people just keep their ideas to themselves.

It’s sad but absolutely reversible.

Here are a few ways you can change the environment to one in which people are happy to speak their minds. By doing so, you’ll increase your organization’s chances of finding the ideas that significantly impact your key business metrics.

Communicate the Short and Long-Term Strategy

You’ll get better ideas from people when they understand the primary goals and objectives of the organization. This doesn’t mean putting an annual plan in people’s inbox and hoping for the best. It means cascading the strategic goals down through the organization so that people understand how their work fits into the bigger picture. Bonus points if individual workers have a chance to participate in the crafting of the goals that relate to them.

Free Webinar: Putting Strategy Back in Strategy Deployment

Take the Sting Out of Failure

One reason that people are reluctant to share their ideas is that they might end up duds. Not every suggestion works out after all, so why take the risk? Smart leaders work to overcome this mindset by establishing a culture of experimentation. When you make it OK to try something that doesn’t work, you allow people to “fail forward” and learn from each trial balloon.

Commit to an SLA

In software, an SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a contract between the customer and the vendor that establishes how, and how quickly, support will be provided. Why not set up an SLA for employee ideas? Establish a standard amount of time for managers to evaluate new ideas and provide feedback. Doing this is difficult without a technology platform for managing employee improvements, so consider putting one with notifications and alerts in place to support your SLA.

Make it Easy

We mentioned how technology could help managers meet the “idea SLA”; it can also make it frictionless for employees to submit ideas. They shouldn’t have to go to a suggestion box hanging on the wall somewhere. They should be able to enter them in your improvement platform right from their desk or their favorite mobile device. We’ve even seen companies that have technology restricted areas, set up a kiosk for this purpose. The easier it is, the more ideas you will get.

Ask Questions in the Workspace

It isn’t unusual for people to be so adept at working around problems that they no longer realize they are working around problems. That’s why we love a Lean management technique called Gemba Walks. Leaders go to the workspace, show respect for employees, and ask questions. It’s an excellent opportunity to observe people overcoming flawed processes. For example, you might ask a data entry clerk why she had to enter the order in three different systems. He may explain that the systems are not integrated. He might not have ever thought of that as a problem; it’s just the way it is. This simple conversation has revealed a potential opportunity for improvement.

Free eBook: Guide to Successful Gemba Walks

Recognize People Engaged in Improvement

This seems simple, but we can’t tell you how many companies fail to appreciate the people who are contributing to positive change. This may be because managers assume a tangible reward must accompany such recognition, but that’s not the case at all. As Zig Zigler put it, “Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.”

It does take some work and investment to start up the employee idea machine, but the results can be amazing. Our clients who’ve done it have found significant cost savings; they’ve increased revenue, blown the lid off customer satisfaction scores, and improved employee retention. What will the great ideas of your employees do for your organization?

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Topics: Employee Engagement

10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Quality Improvement Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Nov 11, 2019 8:32:00 AM

If you’ve made the decision to invest in quality improvement software, it’s a smart one. Giving your team a platform to collect, manage, and measure opportunities for improvement is a brilliant way to keep people engaged and get better results. But we know that it is a big step and evaluating software isn’t easy. You need to think about the features, the technical infrastructure, implementation, and support.

Most people don’t evaluate quality improvement technology very often so it’s not surprising if you’re not sure where to start. To help, we’ve put together ten critical questions to ask any vendor you evaluate.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Lean Software

11 Reasons to Consider Process Improvement Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 22, 2019 12:11:17 PM

We’ve yet to meet a business leader who believes that every process in the organization is perfect. We all want to get lower costs, better customer satisfaction scores, more efficiency, and new ways of driving revenue. The difference between organizations that achieve these ends, and those that can’t, often comes down to the structure upon which process improvement initiatives are built. Process improvement software offers a number of compelling advantages. 

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process

The Employee Engagement Software Buyer's Guide

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 21, 2019 12:00:06 PM

The most recent employee engagement research by Gallup resulted in a "good news-bad news" situation for employers. The good news is that employee engagement is trending up. The bad news is that it is still pretty abysmal. According to the research, 34% of U.S. employees were engaged, while 16.5% were "actively disengaged." The remaining 53% of workers are in the "not engaged" category. Gallup says these workers, "May be generally satisfied but are not cognitively and emotionally connected to their work and workplace; they will usually show up to work and do the minimum required but will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer."


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Topics: Employee Engagement, Software

How to Evaluate Continuous Quality Improvement Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 7, 2019 7:59:06 PM

If your organization has decided to implement software to support its continuous quality improvement initiatives, congratulations. That's a smart move. However, it's also a bit risky. There are a lot of options available, some more suited for the task than others. It isn't uncommon for an organization to get far down the path with a vendor only to learn that the solutions won't be a success. Don't let that happen to you. We hope you'll consider KaiNexus, but even if you don't, these tips will help ensure that you get a solution and a vendor partnership that will help you get the most out of continuous quality improvement.

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Topics: Quality, Continuous Improvement Software

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