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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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What to Focus on When Picking Six Sigma Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jul 25, 2017 12:15:25 PM

Investing in software to support your Six Sigma initiatives is an effective way to make sure that you get the most out of the methodology. Setting up a structure for improvement makes it simpler for people throughout the organization to participate in, and effectively oversee, continuous improvement efforts.

Organizations that leverage Six Sigma software collect more opportunities for improvement, implement more solutions, and see a higher ROI for Six Sigma. There are a number of solutions on the market that were either developed as Six Sigma management tools or repurposed as such, so we thought it might be helpful to identify some of the most important capabilities that you should look for when evaluating this type of technology.

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Topics: Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement Software

CQI Software: Advantages Beyond Project Management

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jul 11, 2017 7:28:00 AM

We recently had an interesting conversation with a newly minted director of quality improvement in a regional hospital. The position is new, but she has years of experience implementing continuous quality improvement (CQI) programs. The first thing she realized that she needed was CQI software to support the initiative. She made the request for budget to the CFO who told her that fortunately, the hospital already had project management software and that she was free to use it to manage improvement projects.

This is a common response. Many executives think that CQI software simply tracks projects, assignments, due dates, and status updates. In that case, it makes sense to use the general project management software you already have. Heck, maybe even a spreadsheet will do.

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Topics: Quality, Continuous Improvement Software

Not Every Organization is Ready for Process Improvement Software. Is Yours?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jul 10, 2017 11:45:52 AM

It may seem odd for a company that sells process improvement software to declare that not every company is ready to buy it. We do like partnering with new customers, after all. But the thing is, we only want happy customers. And happy customers are organizations that have successful process improvement software rollouts, good adoption of the solution, and measurable impacts on key business metrics as a result.  

Even if you choose another solution provider, we think it is important that leaders ask a few difficult questions before going straight to technology to solve their problems.

Obviously, we believe that software is a critical component in any improvement initiative, but it is not the only one.

Here are some questions smart leadership teams ask before starting a process improvement software implementation.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process

The Trick to Implementing Efficient Bottom-Up Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 6, 2017 7:37:00 AM

Organizations all over the world, in almost every industry, are turning to continuous improvement software to solve their most challenging issues. The most successful of these Lean organizations are aware that they need 5 elements to succeed in creating an improvement culture: bottom-up improvement, top-down improvement, strategy deployment, coaching, and visual management.

That sounds like a lot to excel at all at once, doesn’t it?

So how do these Lean organizations pull it off?

With continuous improvement software. In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at how technology facilitates improvement from the bottom-up, looking at it from both the perspectives of the staff AND of the coaches.

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With improvement software, employees are able to:

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Continuous Improvement Software

Implementing Lean Software? We’ve Got Tips.

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jul 5, 2017 3:36:32 PM

Most people will only be involved in a Lean software implementation once or maybe a few times. We help companies with improvement software deployment every single day. Because we’ve been around the block many times, we’ve seen what leads to success and which mistakes should be avoided at all costs. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned.

Think Beyond Software

This may be an odd thing for a software company to say, but simply providing employees with a platform to manage Lean projects will not guarantee improved business results. The practice of Lean requires a culture that supports continuous improvement, avoids blame, respects employee ideas, and rewards people who contribute to positive change. Without that foundation, it is unlikely that employees will embrace Lean whether they have the tools to do so or not.

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Get Executives Engaged

It is important for leaders to be involved in the roll out of Lean software for a number of reasons. First, their involvement sends a clear signal that the Lean methodology and the tools needed to support it are a high priority for management. Adoption will also be improved if people know that managers are using the Lean solution to make decisions and assess the performance of the organization. When people see and hear leaders referencing data from the system, they will know how it is used and make good decisions about their own inputs.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

SharePoint vs. Continuous Improvement Software

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 29, 2017 7:12:00 AM

Trying to spread an improvement culture without the right software is as painful and cumbersome as running a marathon in dress shoes. You invest in software for all of the important parts of your business, right?


People. That software exists for continuous improvement, too.

When you started on your improvement journey, you may not realize it, but you actually already made a technology decision. I bet you probably managed the work in spreadsheets and bulletin boards - these are technology! Now that you’re starting to engage more people in it, though, I bet that you’re finding that it’s hard to get the visibility you need to spread that culture efficiently and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Your technology needs an upgrade.

You could theoretically use Dropbox and a folder structure to manage critical components of your business - say, for example, your medical records or accounting transactions - but I promise you, no one is putting their organizations at risk like that. They use software built specifically for the business issue you’re dealing with.

It continues to baffle me that organizations don’t take improvement software as seriously as they take their accounting platform or their medical records system.

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Realizing that, it can be tempting to have your IT department build you a solution in SharePoint - which, out of the box, is just another document storage repository and an easy way to make website portals.

There’s not an IT department in the world that would volunteer to build a medical records system themselves when they know there’s software out there built specifically for this purpose. They understand that the resources it would take to build, maintain, and improve the system would be astronomical. I could wax poetic on the decision to build software vs. buying it, but I’ll spare you and just offer up this post and this one with more details on the topic.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

Deciding to Take the Leap: A Look at Improvement Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 22, 2017 7:02:00 AM

Deciding when to move from a paper system of managing continuous improvement to a digital system is tough. You know that you're not as effective or efficient as you could be, but growing pains in an improvement culture come on so gradually, it's hard to know how much better things could really get with the right platform.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) and Snow Cones

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 21, 2017 7:26:00 AM

Preface: I’m in northern California today. Summer doesn’t even officially begin for three days and it is 107 degrees! So, the fact that I started thinking about what quality improvement and delicious frozen treats have in common should not imply that I’ve finally lost it.

Continuous quality improvement (CQI) is one of those things that is like a snow cone. It’s something that pretty much everyone can agree is awesome. Who wouldn’t want it?  “Always getting better is overrated,” said nobody – ever. Yet for some reason, not every organization has a plan for how to achieve CQI. Fewer still, have systems and processes in place to support it, and many that try never successfully reach their goals.

Why is that?

Let’s see if my snow cone analogy can help explain some of what conditions are necessary for CQI to catch hold.

 

If Neglected, It Will Melt

We don’t have hard data to back it up, but it is quite likely that the number one killer of CQI programs is simple neglect. Leadership gets very excited about this opportunity to revolutionize the organization, cut waste, and clobber the competition. They hold a meeting, send out a message, maybe even put up some signs and then go back to business as usual. Pretty soon, everything reverts to the old way of doing things, except that maybe employees are sharing Dilbert strips about CQI, or TPS, or Lean, or whatever you’ve called the program. (Don’t doubt that there is a Dilbert strip for all of them.) If you want to see what happens to CQI programs with disengaged leadership, just leave your snow cone on the driveway for the afternoon.

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Continuous Improvement Software

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Digital Huddle Board

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jun 12, 2017 11:58:46 AM

Whether you are new to huddle boards or have decided it’s time to move yours from the wall into the cloud, we offer you congratulations. Digital huddle boards are an excellent way to organize and track improvement projects. They have the potential to increase the number of completed improvements and to help you prove how valuable this effort is to the organization.

Selecting the right solution is critical, but it can be tricky. Lots of solutions can claim to fill the role of a huddle board, but very few are designed specifically for that purpose with all of the features and capabilities needed to really get the most out of the approach.

If you are looking for a solution, here are some of the questions you might ask and the answers you should expect.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software

The Need for Improvement Software to Measure Improvement KPIs

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 9, 2017 7:03:00 AM

We've written time and time again about the value of monitoring and measuring the impact, activity, and engagement of people in an improvement culture. Doing so enables you to track strategic progress, pinpoint problems, identify top performers, and inspire engagement - among other things. Your activity, engagement, and impact metrics are the vital signs of your improvement culture, yet many organizations fail to take the time to capture and evaluate these KPIs. A big part of the problem is that it's difficult to ensure that everyone logs an impact for every improvement or projects, you wind up trying to compare apples to oranges and can't aggregate the data, the numbers quickly become outdated, and there's no way to ensure that accurate numbers are shared.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software