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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


Top 8 Reasons that CQI Initiatives Fail

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 29, 2017 8:01:00 AM

Continuous quality improvement (CQI) isn’t a subject that inspires a lot of debate. We’ve yet to find a business leader or even a front-line employee who doesn’t think that quality improvement is a good thing. But many companies struggle to achieve this nearly unanimous goal. Our work with companies trying to get there has given us some insight into why. Here are 8 of the most common problems we’ve seen.

There is No Formal CQI Initiative

Because quality improvement is so obvious, many organizations will say, perhaps in their mission or vision statement, that they strive for continuous improvement, but when you dig deeper and ask what that means, they can’t give a definitive answer. There is no plan to achieve CQI and no set of metrics to measure it. It is just an ideal tethered to nothing. Of course, the organizations we know have successfully achieved CQI put in the effort to craft a plan, define success, and constantly measure progress.

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Topics: Quality, Customer Testimonials

Continuous Improvement Leadership at Mohawk Paper

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 26, 2017 7:52:00 AM

Though we work hard to give you as much information as we can about continuous improvement (CI) and the many related methodologies, we can’t hide – nor would we want to—that we are a CI software provider. As proponents of CI software, we have always talked about how combining the right technology, improvement methodologies, and engaged leadership styles can create a balanced culture of CI that will maximize and sustain impact over the long haul.

Recently Mark Graban, our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org, interviewed Ben (Chip) Whitaker from Mohawk Fine Papers, a company that sees technology and software the same way that we do, and has recently launched CI software across most of its departments. Whitaker is the Director of Business Process Management and IT for Mohawk, which is North America's largest privately-owned manufacturer of fine papers, envelopes, and specialty substrates for commercial and digital printing.

Mohawk was founded in 1931 according to the company’s website, and as Whitaker explained, some of the equipment the company has is even older, dating back to more than a hundred years. But despite its history, the company has been using technology to look forward and seek success for quite some time.

Listen to the Interview and Subscribe to the Podcast:

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Topics: Customer Testimonials

A Pilot and a Focus on Engagement: Continuous Improvement at Mohawk

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 13, 2017 7:51:00 AM

One of the most interesting things about working with new clients at KaiNexus is that we get to hear stories about how organizations have approached continuous improvement (CI) and ask them about their challenges, successes, and plans for the future. Recently, our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org, Mark Graban had the opportunity to speak with Ben Whitaker, Director, Business Process Management and IT for Mohawk Fine Papers about the beginnings of his organization’s CI journey.

Mohawk is North America's largest privately owned manufacturer of fine papers, envelopes, and specialty substrates for commercial and digital printing. The company has a long history providing paper products, and products like paper, for their customers to print on. Whitaker explained that some of the equipment the company has is over a hundred years old, and according to Mohawk’s website, the company was founded in 1931.

Listen to the interview and subscribe to the podcast:

As Whitaker explained, the motivation to consider improvement methodologies came about in 2016 because of a recent expansion into the envelope business in addition to the company’s paper operations. This expansion was originally a response to industry changes that urged the company to get control over envelopes that were made from its paper.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Customer Testimonials

Turning a PMO & Continuous Improvement into an Innovation Team

Posted by Jake Sussman

Mar 8, 2017 8:19:00 AM

We love highlighting Lean success stories here at KaiNexus and so we were very excited when Erin Edwards, Continuous Improvement Manager at Four Seasons Produce agreed to host a webinar with us to highlight their success turning a Project Management Office (PMO) into an “Innovation Team.” Edwards is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with experience in both project management and continuous improvement and had been working with Four Seasons Produce for about five years when the webinar took place.

The webinar, Turning Continuous Improvement and a PMO into an Innovation Team, was hosted by our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services, and founder of LeanBlog.org, Mark Graban. You can watch the full recorded webinar here. 

Four Seasons Produce is a full-service wholesale distributor and supplier of fresh organic, local, and conventional produce, which they supply to organic markets, food co-ops, independent retailers, chain stores, juice bars, and other produce buyers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

Listen to this Post or Subscribe to the Podcast:


Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, Four Seasons Produce is growing; its 262,000 square foot warehouse in Ephrata Pennsylvania underwent a major expansion last year, which added space to both the warehouse and truck garages for their vehicle fleet.  

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Topics: Customer Testimonials, Webinars

Should You Introduce Improvement Software to Your Over-Loaded Staff?

Posted by Becca Millard

Jan 26, 2017 8:03:00 AM

One of the most common worries we hear about from people getting ready to introduce a continuous improvement software solution is that their people are already busy enough without having to learn how to use the new system and incorporate it into their daily activities. And it’s not just leaders who are concerned - their employees are worried, too. They're concerned that they’ll be expected to devote lots of time to learning how to use the software, and that the system will add lots of work to their already packed days.

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Topics: Software, Customer Testimonials

How to Drive Performance Improvement Using KaiNexus in Healthcare

Posted by Kristin Bentz

Dec 22, 2016 8:13:00 AM

Identify, Specify and Create Value for the Users

Kristin Bentz, RN, BSN, CPHQ
Lean Transformation Specialist, LeeHealth

I am a registered nurse by trade. I spent the first 18 years of my career career caring for critically ill and injured patients in large healthcare institutions nationwide. Before the turn of the century, the words ‘quality’ and ‘performance improvement’ were not commonly used in the clinical environment. Policies and procedures were typically drafted by senior leaders who were far removed from current state front line. This operational disconnect resulted in functional barriers to performance, and these barriers were often addressed by the creation of process workarounds.  These workarounds then evolved into practices of normalized deviance and unfortunately surfaced as root causes for many medical errors.

When the Institute of Medicine released To Err is Human in 1999, the US health care system had a rude awakening. We were a human services industry who contributed to more fatalities per year than car crashes and firearms. We were informed that as many as 98,000 Americans die every year at the hands of health care professionals. After 16 years of quality and safety initiatives from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, The Joint Commission, and a trillion dollars in federal health care legislation, the British Journal of Medicine now cites that the third leading cause of death in the United States is attributed to medical negligence.  It is estimated that over 250,000 patients per year enter our health care facilities and die because of errors in care delivery.  The initial root cause analysis blamed system failures in health care communication and collaboration for the accidental death of patients, and these systemic failures continue to plague our health care institutions today.

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Topics: Customer Testimonials, Lean Healthcare

Yes, You Can Spread an Improvement Culture with Limited Resources

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 16, 2016 7:42:00 AM

Hint: Continuous Improvement Software Makes it Possible 

Creating a unified culture of continuous improvement, rolling out new software to help capture that improvement, measuring that improvement, and sharing knowledge to maximize improvement; it all sounds like a huge job, doesn’t it? You might be mentally reviewing the resources your organization has and thinking that despite the amazing impact it could have both in the short and long term, you just don’t have the employee time or means to pull it off right now. Luckily, spreading continuous improvement culture with limited resources is easier than you might think.

Dr. Tania Lyon, Director of Organizational Performance Improvement for St. Clair Hospital knows about fostering a culture of improvement and deploying continuous improvement software with limited resources. Dr. Lyon recently hosted a KaiNexus webinar alongside Mark Graban, KaiNexus Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org.  In that KaiNexus webinar, available here, she outlined how her small department of just two part-time staff managed to roll-out continuous improvement software to an organization of over 550 physicians and 2,400 employees, experiencing success all along the way.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement, Continuous Improvement Software, Customer Testimonials

Why This Organization Turned to Continuous Improvement Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 9, 2016 8:04:00 AM

When Dr. Tania Lyon became the first Director of Organizational Performance Improvement for St. Clair Hospital, continuous improvement software wasn’t the first thing she tried in working to create an improvement culture but, as she explained in a November 2016 KaiNexus webinar, the transition from paper to KaiNexus was inevitable.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Customer Testimonials, Webinars

A Lean Transformation From a Struggling ED to Top Notch

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 27, 2016 7:30:00 AM

Here at KaiNexus, we have some pretty impressive customers and we work with very talented, passionate people every day. One such individual is Tania Lyon, the Director of Organizational Performance Improvement at St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. Lyon was recently interviewed by Mark Graban on the LeanBlog Podcast - listen to it here or scroll down for an embedded player. 

St. Clair is an unusual organization in that, during the course of its 60-year history, it's only had 3 CEOs. It was the newest one - Jim Collins - who instigated the development of a Lean culture in their organization. Collins had exposure to the Toyota Production System, having seen it tested successfully in other hospitals. When he came on board at St. Clair Hospital, he started sending his senior leadership team off to get some TPS training. The VPs came back from the training inspired and feeling that: 

"This is it, we need this. We have to have this culture, and we have to do it right. We can't just send a bunch of managers off to training and hope that this will happen in our hospitals, we need someone to drive it from the inside." 

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Topics: Customer Testimonials

A Study of a Successful Lean Management System [Webinar on Demand]

Posted by Becca Millard

May 12, 2016 11:20:45 AM

Michael Lombard, MBA, PMP is an accomplished leader in Lean Healthcare, currently serving as the Senior Director of Operational Excellence at Cornerstone Healthcare Group in Dallas, TX. He has been an awesome KaiNexus customer at two different organizations over the last couple of years.

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Topics: Lean, Customer Testimonials

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