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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


The 5 M’s of Kaizen for Managers

Posted by Brianna Hudock

Aug 18, 2020 10:44:00 AM

We often describe Kaizen as a way of looking at the world rather than a prescription for how to achieve positive change. Kaizen thinkers seek to make small changes to operations daily in search of higher quality, more efficiency, and less waste. But because the concept of Kaizen is so philosophical, it can be a challenge for people new to the idea to understand what it means in practical terms.

Related: What is Kaizen?

One useful tool for training managers to adopt the Kaizen mindset is called the 5 M’s. By consistently examining the 5 M’s, managers will be able to recognize when something in a process is not working and improve efficiency and profitability. This model can be used for risk mitigation, addressing safety issues, and improving quality. It can be used right alongside other Kaizen techniques such as the 5 Whys, 5S, and Gemba walks.

The 5 M’s are:

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership

The Continuous Improvement Imperative for Oil and Gas Companies

Posted by Clint Corley

Aug 13, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Oil and gas companies have increasingly faced the twin challenges of low prices and increased competition from renewables. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation much more difficult. For example, the US benchmark for the price per barrel of crude dropped from $63 in January to below zero in April. Since then, the price climbed back up to about $41, which is a third lower than before COVID-19 became a reality in the US. In the second quarter of 2020, 18 producers filed for bankruptcy; that’s the second-highest quarterly increase in the last five years.

Controlling costs and optimizing production processes are not nice-to-have for oil and gas companies; they are necessary for survival. That’s why more leaders in the sector are turning to the practices that have long been used by manufacturing companies to reduce waste, improve quality, and speed projects to completion. It all starts with the simple idea that every process can be improved and that continuous improvement is the responsibility of every employee.

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7 Habits of Highly Effective Kaizen Thinkers

Posted by JJ Puentes

Aug 11, 2020 9:30:00 AM

The practice of Kaizen is not about a particular way of performing business operations or even a specific approach to process improvement. Instead, it is a way of thinking about business operations that can transform how you look at problems and open up new doors to innovation. Kaizen seeks to move operations nearer and nearer to perfection through incremental improvement. Embracing the approach is not only beneficial for organizations, but it can also accelerate the development and help the careers of individual employees as well.

Here are seven ways of thinking that can help you become a champion for positive change.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

Build vs. Buy: Should You Buy Software or Develop It Internally?

Posted by Allan Wilson

Aug 6, 2020 3:50:04 PM

For many years, leaders have questioned whether it is better to make or buy software solutions for the many business problems they face. Pros and cons are weighed to figure out what is going to be most cost-effective and efficient for the business. It's important to remember that accurately estimating the long-term consequences of this decision can be difficult. This often leaves those on the front lines struggling to pick up the slack.

The pace of technology innovation is accelerating at an exponential rate, making it difficult for the average internal IT group to cope with this pace of change. The struggle commonly lies in the fact that they not only have to create the software internally, but they must also maintain and upgrade it indefinitely.

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Topics: Software

15 Leadership Skills That Build Trust

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 4, 2020 10:30:00 AM

Last week we wrote about how distrust is a barrier to change. This post outlines some of the leadership skills and behavior known to increase trust and employee engagement. You probably do some of these things really well already, but perhaps the list will remind you where improvement is still needed. This is also a useful list to share with those who are just beginning to develop their leadership skills.

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Topics: Leadership

Waterfall Coaching

Posted by Mike Wiersma

Jul 30, 2020 5:41:04 PM

There are many feelings and emotions that are triggered just from observing waterfalls. In nature, we associate them with speed, power, and beauty. With Lean, we often associate waterfalls with the concept of a continuous flow of people, materials, and information. We also use project management methodologies that leverage a waterfall approach where we execute in phases and the value is finally achieved at the end (versus an agile approach). Additional new thinking like The Flow System™ calls out how complexity, teamwork, and autonomous leadership address organizational friction. Finally, having a mind like water frees up our mind to be more productive.

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The Connection Between Trust and a Culture of Change

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 29, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Humans are hard-wired for change. As soon as we are born, we start to grow, learn, and adapt to our environment. If that's the case, why is it so difficult to create a culture of change within an organization?

There are many barriers to change from fear of failure to plain old inertia, but a critical ingredient for constant positive change is often overlooked: trust. Your employees are probably more likely than you think to walk the high wire of change, but they don’t want to do it without a net.

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Topics: Leadership, Change Management

Make It a CI-nch

Posted by Mike Wiersma

Jul 24, 2020 5:33:34 PM

\ ˈsinch


: A thing done with ease
: A secure grip
: A certainty to happen


: To make certain
: To fasten tight

Improvement work doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the intent of the thinking and methods is to provide some sense of security and increase your certainty.

If continuous improvement is truly the way to healthy, sustainable culture change, why do we make it so complicated? Why are so few using the tools? And why are we so quick to leave it all behind in times of chaos or uncertainty? The same thinking and methods apply before, during, and after those critical moments in time.  

Let’s discover a few ways to make your work and continuous improvement a CI-nch.

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A Brief Introduction to 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 23, 2020 12:42:22 PM

Lean Thinking, by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones, covers the five principles of Lean manufacturing. “Truly remarkable .... the most comprehensive, instructive, mind-stretching and provocative analysis of any major industry I have ever known," said Philip Caldwell, former Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company. Peter Drucker called it, “A very important book.” Although the book is primarily focused on Toyota’s achievement in revolutionizing manufacturing, the principles of Lean manufacturing can be applied to almost any industry.

Here are 5 principles of Lean manufacturing:

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Topics: Lean

Change Management Tips for Leaders

Posted by Clint Corley

Jul 21, 2020 10:30:00 AM

People react very positively to the concept of continuous improvement. They are a little less enthusiastic when it is framed as constant change. But, of course, improvement requires change. Our clients who’ve done it successfully have shared their best ideas for how to get there.

Acknowledge that Most People Don’t Like Change

People balk at trying new things for several reasons, including risk adversity. It’s much easier to keep doing the same thing and getting the same results than to experiment with something that might fail. It pays to acknowledge this and let everyone know that it’s all right to try something that doesn’t ultimately work. It’s the constant learning and experimentation that will eventually lead to better processes and outcomes.

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Topics: Leadership, Change Management, Change Management Software, Continuous Improvement Software

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