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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Yes, You Can Improve Without Kaizen Software. But Why Would You Want To?

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 8, 2017 7:15:00 AM

We are occasionally asked if it is possible to implement Kaizen without using software .

The answer is yes.

It is possible to adopt a continuous improvement mindset, embrace the belief that positive change is everyone’s responsibility, and execute improvement projects all without a dedicated solution to support the effort. Heck, Toyota did it before email was a thing.

However, we can say with confidence that organizations that do choose to leverage a Kaizen software solution see more impactful improvements in a shorter period of time. They are able to manage more projects and capture more opportunities.

This post is about how and why.

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Topics: Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Software

5 Strategy Deployment Software Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 4, 2017 12:20:25 PM

If you have implemented - or are planning to implement - strategy deployment software, let me take a minute to congratulate you. Too many organizations leave what is arguably the most important function of the organization without support. Pat yourself on the back for recognizing that if software helps you manage everything from your finances to your customer relationships, it can help manage the strategic direction of the company as well. That said, not all strategy deployment software implementations are equally effective. We’ve seen leaders with their hearts in the right place make tactical mistakes that diminish - or even eliminate - the value of strategy deployment software. Don’t let these missteps happen to you.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Hoshin Kanri, Strategy Deployment

Frequently Asked Questions About A3 Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Nov 27, 2017 11:59:03 AM

A3 software may seem like something of an oxymoron. After all, the A3 technique gets its name from the size of paper early practitioners used to document the problem-solving methodology. (A European paper size that is roughly equivalent to an American 11-inch by 17-inch tabloid-sized paper.) But we’ve come a long way since the A3 technique was first invented. Now there are software solutions designed to support the A3 process, making it even more useful and resulting in lasting results. It is a subject that comes up quite a bit in our conversations with folks interested in finding the most efficient ways to structure continuous improvement. Here are some of the questions they ask us most often.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

Want to Get More Out of Rapid Improvement Events? Click Here.

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Nov 27, 2017 10:25:24 AM

Rapid improvement events are a popular continuous improvement approach with for good reasons. By focusing all of your team’s firepower on one challenge or opportunity for a few days, you dramatically speed the pace of change and increase the chances of successful collaboration and broad agreement on the right actions to take.

But not every rapid improvement event is a resounding success. In fact, if not properly executed they can cause more harm than good.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

Top 7 Benefits of a Lean Management System

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 6, 2017 10:45:21 AM

Although it got its start in the auto manufacturing industry, the Lean management approach to business is now widely used in every industry. It is particularly popular in healthcare, construction, and higher education. The Lean methodology and its cousins, Six Sigma, TQM, and others, are popular because they bring order to the essential responsibility of every organization to continually improve operations and results.

While it is certainly possible to implement Lean or another organized management approach without software, many organizations find that a Lean management system is essential to rapid and long-lasting success. The most important features of a Lean management system include:

  • A centralized platform for improvement projects
  • 24x7 access from anywhere
  • Workflow with automated alerts and notifications
  • Robust search capabilities
  • Built-in collaboration tools
  • Advanced reporting and analytics
  • Improvement impact measurement
  • Success broadcasting
  • Data visualization and dashboards


These features make Lean management systems much more effective for managing improvement work than spreadsheets and email. Here are the top ten benefits they provide for organizations that implement the software successfully.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

Idea Boards for the Modern Workforce

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Oct 25, 2017 7:48:00 AM

Call me crazy, but I think the world’s first idea board was probably painted on a cave. People have an innate ability to process visual information. So it makes sense to me that our early ancestors would have communicated their plans and suggestions with pictures on the wall. They likely had daily huddles and didn’t even know it.

Early humans evolved and eventually spent the workday in an office or factory rather than hunting food in the wilderness. Idea boards evolved too and became a poster board or whiteboard where ideas were collected (often on Post-its) and grouped in deliberate ways to quickly communicate information. The “To-Do, Doing, Done” arrangement is popular because anyone who sees it can immediately assess the amount of work in progress compared to the backlog.

Idea boards are used for serial projects, like software development that has a beginning, middle, and an end. Work moves through the board like a stream. They are also used for “messier” endeavors like brainstorming new product ideas or collecting suggestions for improvement.

In short, idea boards are pretty awesome, but evolution never ends and we’d argue that it’s time to move beyond Post-its and whiteboard markers and make the leap into the cloud by digitizing every idea board. Your modern workforce will thank you for it. Here’s why.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Methodology

10 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Lean Construction Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 23, 2017 10:37:47 AM

The Lean management approach has been used in manufacturing, healthcare, and the technology sector for decades. These days, more and more construction firms are realizing that the Lean model has many benefits to offer in terms of project profitability, timely completion, customer satisfaction, and safety. Many firms have realized that the best way to make Lean successful is to implement software designed to support it. There are many options in the market, so it pays to do some serious due diligence before selecting a platform.

While you will certainly have some questions that are specific to your firm, here are some of the most important questions to ask each vendor that you consider.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

How A3 Software Supports Problem Solving

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Oct 16, 2017 11:20:59 AM

The A3 approach is a brilliantly simple problem-solving technique. It is based on the PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Adjust) improvement cycle and is a systematic method for solving problems on a single piece of paper. This one-pager of A3 size (11 X 17), is how A3 got its name.

 

The Benefits of the A3 Technique

A3 is popular with Six Sigma and Lean management practitioners and others who are interested in continuous improvement. Organizations benefit from A3 because it:

  • Creates a consistent approach to solving problems throughout the entire organization
  • Requires a balanced way of thinking both visually and analytically (Right Brain/Left Brain)
  • Reduces complexity and keeps focus on the problem
  • Generates alignment and consensus
  • Provides a visual representation of data that is easy for everyone to understand
  • Short circuits the temptation to jump to conclusions and implement improvements without due consideration

 

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

A Simple Introduction to Putting Process Control Charts to Work

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 29, 2017 9:07:00 AM

We’ve written a few posts introducing process control charts and explaining why they are so useful. Today we want to dig a little bit deeper and get into the weeds of actually putting them to work.

As we’ve noted, a process control chart is a graph used to monitor how a process behaves over time. Data are plotted in time order. A control chart always has a central line for the average (sometimes a median), an upper line for the upper control limit, and a lower line for the lower control limit. These lines are calculated from historical data and usually cover three standard deviations from the mean.

Process control charts help get managers out of the trap of overrreacting to every up and down in the data. It also helps avoid problems caused by only looking at average results. Instead, they help leaders understand the variation of results. Why does variation matter? Consider an example, if you are planning an event and are told that the average age of attendees is 32, you might ponder a swanky cocktail party. But in reality, your guests might include many children and elderly people, who aren’t interested in a dry martini. More information is always better.

So where to begin? Here is a quick guide to implementing and using process control charts.

 

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Visual Management

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

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