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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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The 10 Principles of Operational Excellence

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 11, 2019 8:11:00 AM

The dictionary defines “principle” as “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or a chain of reasoning. Principles help us see the positive and negative results of our actions. They enable us to make smarter decisions about what we choose to do.

In business, when leaders, managers, and team members understand the principles of operational excellence, they are better able to align systems and reward ideal behavior. This creates a sustainable culture of improvement in which achieving the desired results is standard, rather than exceptional.

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Topics: Operational Excellence

Easy-to-Try Process Improvement Examples

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jul 10, 2019 7:32:00 AM

When people talk about business process improvement, the conversation can get very far into the weeds quickly. There are several overarching approaches to business management like Six Sigma and Lean, and then there are more acronyms describing tools and techniques then you can shake a stick at. We’re not putting them down. DMAIC, PDSA, 5S, 5G, 5W1H, 4M1D, and all the rest are really effective ways to structure improvement and problem-solving. However, if you are new to the notion of process improvement, we don’t blame you if you find the jargon confusing. We’re probably guilty of getting too technical too quickly in this space from time to time, so today we’re going to keep it simple and ban the industry terms.

You don’t have to be a continuous improvement black belt to begin implementing positive change in your organization. Here are a few process improvement examples that are good starting points.

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Topics: Improvement Process

A Structured Approach to Problem-Solving | Webinar Recap

Posted by Noah Paratore

Jul 9, 2019 6:45:00 AM

A little while back, we had the pleasure of presenting a webinar hosted by Chad Westbrook, a manufacturing engineering manager and AGCO production system manager at AGCO Corporation. AGCO is a full line manufacturer of agricultural equipment. The company makes everything, including tractors, tillers, sprayers, bailers, and other equipment. Chad joined our own Mark Graban to discuss a different way of thinking about problem-solving. This post is a recap of the presentation - watch the full thing for all the details!

A Structured Approach to Problem-Solving

Presented by Chad Westbrook, AGCO

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In this webinar, you'll learn a structured approach to problem-solving using the following tools:

  • 5G – A tool used to describe a loss phenomenon
  • 5W1H – An approach to the revised phenomenon
  • 4M1D – Defining the contributing factors to the revised phenomenon
  • 4M1D Confirmation – Validating the contributing factors
  • 5 Why’s – Root cause and effective countermeasures
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Topics: Lean, Spread Continuous Improvement

6 Things People Need to Hear About Kaizen Events

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 5, 2019 11:50:49 AM

With more and more companies in almost every industry adopting the Lean management approach or at least taking a few pages from it, Kaizen events are more popular than ever. That’s wonderful because they can be a very useful tool for improving processes and teaching leadership. But, unfortunately, we’ve seen too many instances of organizations that try to cut corners or fail to understand the best way to utilize Kaizen events. It would be nice if they were as easy as getting a few folks in a room for a couple of days and – presto – problem solved.

Sadly, that’s not how it works. We hate to burst the bubble, but Kaizen events require planning, leadership, and precise application. Here is the truth about successful rapid improvement events, whether folks want to hear it or not.

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Topics: Lean, Kaizen

More Brilliantly Simple Continuous Improvement Techniques

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 4, 2019 2:35:56 PM

A while back, we wrote about some continuous quality improvement techniques that we love because they are easy but powerful. One of the most important realizations that people have, when they start to build an organization focused on excellence and constant improvement, is that the path is not complicated. It’s really all about getting the little things right and providing people with a structured way to think about incremental operational change. The original post contained some of our favorite tools. This one has a few more.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

The Reasons Employee Engagement Software Usually Fails

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jun 26, 2019 12:05:00 PM

With as many as 70% of employees reporting that they are not fully engaged at work, employee engagement (or lack thereof) is a significant problem for employers in the US. So, it’s no wonder that many software companies offer solutions purported to improve it. The market for employee engagement software is growing, according to Zion Market Research’s recent report (paywall). The global employee engagement software market is expected to reach approximately $346 million by 2025.

Yet, the problem persists.

Many of the companies that come to us looking for help creating and supporting a culture of improvement have already tried some type of employee engagement solution. They’re frustrated that despite their best efforts, most employees are content to stick with the status quo, keep their heads down, and produce the same results as always.

What these leaders are glad to hear is that it isn’t their fault. The fact is that the paradigm under which most employee engagement software is developed is flawed. The reason it doesn’t work isn’t a bad implementation or lazy managers; it’s much deeper than that.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

Hints for Creating a Kaizen Training Plan

Posted by Clint Corley

Jun 24, 2019 7:56:00 AM

I might have written here before that Kaizen isn’t really a thing you do; it’s a way of thinking that leads you to do a bunch of things differently. Every leader wants an army of employees who are always on the lookout for an opportunity to create positive change. Organizations thrive when every person is accountable for innovation and improvement. But the Kaizen mindset isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Some people have worked in cultures of strict top-down management where employee ideas are not welcome and doing what you were told to do is all anyone expects. That’s why Kaizen training is so important.

Here are our best tips on creating a Kaizen training plan that will work for your team.

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Topics: Kaizen

How to Navigate the Hoshin Kanri Planning Process

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jun 20, 2019 8:42:00 AM

One of the most important and challenging responsibilities of leaders is setting the strategic direction of the organization and steering everyone toward it. Sometimes, the ultimate goal is called “True North.” Hoshin Kanri is a strategic planning process that was first crafted by Professor Yoji Akao in Japan in the 1950s. Hoshin is the Japanese word for “direction” or “compass needle,” while Kanri means “management.” Hoshin Kanri is also sometimes called strategy deployment or policy deployment.

The Hoshin planning process recognizes that it is essential to work toward the organization’s three to five breakthrough goals that will take multiple years to achieve, while at the same time making daily, incremental improvements that will help reach the desired state. It is not like other forms of annual goal setting that become document artifacts that are pulled out once a year for review. Instead, Hoshin Kanri is an active method of management that becomes part of the thinking of every person in the organization.

Most organizations have seven steps in the Hoshin Kanri planning process. Although each is relatively simple, attention to detail and excellent documentation is essential.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

#TargetDown is an Opportunity for Improvement

Posted by Amber Newman

Jun 17, 2019 12:14:11 PM

I guess I picked a bad day to go to Target. I kind of knew it was a bad day to go to Target because it was a Saturday and the day before Father’s Day. I didn’t know it would be a really, really bad day to go to Target - an all systems are down sort of day. But it was.

Target’s inability (or near inability by some accounts) to process customer transactions for about two hours last Saturday represented a mild-to-moderate inconvenience for me, requiring two trips that took way longer than they should have to purchase my husband’s Father’s Day present. (It’s a bike. He loves it.) Of course, for the employees of Target, the inconvenience was way more than moderate.

One can only speculate about how much revenue, not to mention goodwill, was lost during the outage. As it does, the Twitterverse had a heyday making fun of the situation. Rivals Walmart and Amazon no doubt got a boost, and I suspect there was a spike in shrinkage. (Retail-speak for theft.) And although the company was quick to state that the problem was not a hack or data breach, Target’s already marred reputation for data integrity certainly was not helped.

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Topics: Leadership, HRO

Problem Solving at Cleveland Clinic

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 14, 2019 1:07:15 PM

I'm well into day two of the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in Washington D.C., and while there are 8 breakout sessions to choose from right now, I came back to the coldest room in the hotel for more Cleveland Clinic. You can check out what I learned about their tiered huddles in yesterday's session here

(Side note: Why are conference meeting rooms so cold? Are the hotels trying to keep people awake? Sedate us? I'll never know.)

I must not be the only one who can't get enough of this organization, because at this moment we're 15 minutes from the start of the session and it's already standing room only. Today's Cleveland Clinic presentation is led by Melissa Vandergriff, the CI Program Manager.

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