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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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5 Prerequisites for Solid Continuous Process Improvement

Posted by Kade Jansson

Sep 26, 2017 11:41:25 AM

I recently joined a few of my family members on a trip to Disneyland. My 9-year-old niece from Utah was among the group. She’d never been to California before and had never seen a palm tree. She was fascinated by them, but also a little angry. “Why don’t we have trees like this at home?” she asked. I’m no botanist, but I explained to her that different plants grow in different places because they need certain conditions to thrive. The temperature, soil composition, humidity, rainfall, and other factors create the environment that determines what vegetation will take root. That’s why you don’t see cacti in a swamp, or tomatoes in the desert.  

Over the years we’ve spent working with organizations interested in positive change, we’ve seen time and time again, that much like palm trees, continuous process improvement (CPI) needs certain conditions to flourish. Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on Mother Nature to create a conducive atmosphere. If you are just beginning your CPI journey, or if you are struggling to achieve results, make sure that these crucial prerequisites are in place.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process

A Mission to Partner with Patients to Improve Safety

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Sep 21, 2017 7:20:00 AM

If you’ve been following our blog, watching our webinars (which are available on demand), or listening to our podcasts for a while, you’ll know that we love collaboration here at KaiNexus. Probably the most important collaboration possible is the kind that happens between patients, their families, and their healthcare providers. This type of collaboration happens to be the topic of a recent webinar hosted by Mark Graban, our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services, titled Teaming with Patients to Improve Safety.

Graban sits on the board of directors for the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation. To talk about the foundation and its important work in helping patients and healthcare professionals recognize the importance of involving patients and families as partners in their care Graban spoke with Laura B. Townsend, Elise Matocha, and Carol Wratten, respectively.

Watch the webinar here:

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Break Through Common Barriers to Improvement with CQI Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 20, 2017 12:40:15 PM

Given the nature of our business, you can probably imagine that we get the chance to talk to lots of folks who are struggling to create a culture of improvement that lasts.

One of the most common emotions that these leaders express is frustration. It’s fairly obvious that improvement is good for everyone in the organization. “Why doesn’t it just happen on its own, or with some support from management?” they ask.

Our experience with clients over the years has taught us that there are some barriers that get in the way of positive change. The good news is that CQI software can help break them down.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

Keys to a Successful Lean Construction Software Implementation

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 19, 2017 8:33:00 AM

There are many compelling reasons to invest in Lean construction software. Companies that do so are able to reduce costs, improve safety, get projects done faster, and delight clients.

But not every Lean construction software implementation is a success.

Some organizations struggle with inadequate user adoption, poor data management, and other barriers to a smooth and effective solution roll out.

We’ve helped tons of organizations implement improvement technology and can share the best practices we’ve uncovered.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

Five Changes Healthcare Leaders Make to Develop an Improvement Culture

Posted by John Toussaint

Sep 18, 2017 7:01:00 AM

One of the foremost figures in the adoption of lean principles in healthcare, John Toussaint, MD, is an executive coach, author and featured speaker around the world. He started Catalysis in 2008, adopting lean methodologies for hospital and health system leaders. Under his direction, the Catalysis team has built C-suite coaching capability and partners with many organizations to advance the idea of healthcare value through delivery redesign using lean, transparency of healthcare performance data, and payment reform.

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Obeya in Action: The Process and Benefits of Obeya at Carolinas Healthcare System

Posted by Kade Jansson

Sep 15, 2017 7:21:00 AM

If you’ve never heard of an “obeya,” you’ll want to check out our VP of Improvement & Innovation Mark Graban interviewing Dr. Michael Johnston, Vice President Corporate Operations at Carolinas Healthcare System on the KaiNexus podcast.

As Johnston explained, Carolinas HealthCare System has been on an improvement journey for about eight to nine years, beginning with hiring consultants for some traditional project work before deciding to create its own internal continuous improvement department.

Johnston came to Carolinas HealthCare System about four and a half years ago, and soon after was asked to take over that continuous improvement department, which is called the Performance Excellence Center (PEC). At that time he noticed the department was divided into separate functions - including projects, six-sigma type work, traditional Rapid Improvement Events (RIE's), and Kaizen events.

Listen to the interview and Subscribe to the Podcast:

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

The 8 Wastes of Lean are Shockingly Common. Here are Some Examples.

Posted by Kade Jansson

Sep 14, 2017 7:25:00 AM

Eliminating waste is at the heart of the Lean business management philosophy. So much so, that there are eight defined types of waste.

Even if you are not an organization devoted to the Lean approach, it still pays to understand and be on the lookout for waste that can hurt the bottom line, slow production times, hurt customer satisfaction, and demotivate employees.

We can’t list every example of each type of waste, but perhaps considering a few will lead you to think about where you might find and eliminate waste in your organization.

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Topics: Lean

6 Pressing Questions Your Employees Have About Continuous Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 13, 2017 7:35:00 AM

We’ve written quite a bit on this blog about the questions that business leaders and managers ask us about continuous improvement (CI), Lean management, improvement technology, and more.

Today, we thought it would be useful to focus on the questions that your employees almost certainly have, especially if a structured approach to improvement is new for your company. Front line employees are often reluctant to ask questions of management, but you can bet they ask each other.

In order to make sure that folks have accurate and helpful information, it pays to answer these questions - even if they are never openly asked.

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Topics: Change Management, Employee Engagement, Spread Continuous Improvement

Going to the Gemba at Four Seasons Produce

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 12, 2017 7:19:00 AM

The Toyota Way states that you can’t be involved in fixing the problem unless you have actually been there in person to see it.

Going to the Gemba (the place where the work is done) is an important part of the improvement process that frequently gets overlooked. Working at a technology company that serves clients in a variety of industries all across the world means that I can’t go to our customer's Gemba as easily as the CEO at a hospital or the supervisor at a building site, but I jumped at the chance to go on site to Four Seasons Produce during a trip to visit my mom and sister.

Four Seasons Produce is wholesale produce distributor and a long-time KaiNexus Customer. Their facility in Ephrata, PA receives, stores, ripens, and packs conventional and organic produce to deliver to stores through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Upon my arrival, Continuous Improvement Manager Erin Edwards and Continuous Improvement Specialist April Peracchio gave me a warm welcome and handed me a jacket. I have to say, the massive produce cooler is a far cry from the summer temps of 95 degrees back in Austin.

Listen to this Post and Subscribe to the Podcast:


Visiting an organization like Four Seasons Produce is fascinating. The delivery areas are even larger than pictures appear online! Erin and April explained how their operations worked, with produce coming in and out of the loading docks during the day and night. Erin and April then showed me the ripening rooms. I was shocked to learn that bananas have a chalky texture to them when they arrive and companies like Four Seasons Produce have special ripening rooms to help speed the process along.

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Gemba Walk Essentials: What, Why, and How

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 11, 2017 9:34:34 AM

If you are thinking about adding the practice of Gemba Walks to your continuous improvement strategy, or if you are simply wondering, “What the heck is a Gemba Walk?” there is a ton of information available on the subject.

In fact, we’ve written a post or two about it ourselves.

But our goal is to make this post an excellent place to start. When you are finished reading it you should know a lot more about what Gemba Walks are, why you should consider making them part of your routine, and how to go about doing it.

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Topics: Gemba Walk