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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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The Lean Linchpin: Middle Managers

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 29, 2019 3:07:21 PM

A linchpin is a fastener passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position. The term is also used figuratively, according to Wikipedia, to describe, “something [or someone] that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.” What an apt description of the role of middle managers in a Lean environment.

When we talk about the Lean business management approach or just continuous improvement in general, we often say that it involves everyone from the CEO to front line workers. In the literature about Lean, a lot of emphasis is put on what top leaders need to do to create a culture of improvement. There’s also much discussion about how to keep operational workers involved and engaged. Both are essential, but it is a huge mistake to underestimate the role of middle management.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership, Daily Lean Management

How’s Your Lean Software Implementation Working Out?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 23, 2019 3:35:55 PM

We’re not going to lie. Implementing any kind of software solution in an organization is not easy. First, you must make sure you select a solution that will actually help address whatever challenge is at hand. Then you have to get it implemented and work out the kinks (there are always kinks). You have to get users trained, and then you face the biggest hurdle of them all – getting people to use the system. Sometimes it all goes smoothly, but challenges are not uncommon.

If you’ve implemented Lean software, you’ve probably faced a few. This post will help you access whether your Lean technology has taken root and give you some ideas for boosting adoption if that’s what’s needed.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

2 Popular Process Improvement Methodologies Explained

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 19, 2019 8:41:00 AM

The world’s most successful organizations are relentless in their quest for flawless processes and perfect execution. The ability to reliably produce quality outcomes with minimal waste is elusive but achievable with the right leadership and attention. That’s why many organizations turn to proven process improvement methodologies and techniques.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement Software

How to Navigate the Transformation Continuum | Webinar Recap

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 18, 2019 8:31:00 AM

We have been very fortunate to have an impressive lineup of guest presenters for our webinar series on continuous improvement. Roger Chen from Indiana University Health did not disappoint when he joined us to discuss how to navigate the transformation continuum. Roger has over 30 years of experience in various improvement and leadership roles. He spent time at General Electric where he reached the level of a Six Sigma master black belt. As GE embraced Lean, Roger became a senior Lean value stream manager. Subsequently, he has lead transformation and improvement roles at Martin Memorial Health System, Lee Health, and now Indiana University Health (IU Health).

How to Navigate the Transformation Continuum

Presented by Roger Chen

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In this webinar, Roger Chen, Executive Director of Lean Transformation at IU Health, shares "lessons from the field" based on his experiences in healthcare (and previously in industry).

You will learn how to identify the phases of the Transformation Continuum and adaptation of rapid improvement and project management methods to standardize efficiency and spread effectiveness -- applicable for any setting!

 

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Topics: Webinars

5 Pillars of an Effective Employee Engagement Strategy

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 17, 2019 12:42:47 PM

When we sit down with a prospective client, we find it is very important to understand the challenges the organization is facing and their long-term goals before we start talking about our solution. One of the themes that come up, again and again, is employee engagement, or lack thereof. What we often find is that leaders and managers implement all sorts of employee engagement activities, but they rarely have a well-crafted, cohesive plan for maximizing the human potential of their workforce. Our clients who have done it successfully have found five key elements that are essential to an effective approach.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition

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

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