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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Is it Time to Rethink Your Daily Huddle Board?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 23, 2018 10:15:46 AM

Daily huddle meetings accompanied by the visual management tool of a huddle board are a favorite improvement management technique in several business methodologies including Lean and Agile management. Industries of all types use them to help teams stay on the same page and ensure that forward momentum on improvement projects is maintained.

However, as with many other business practices, sometimes an idea comes from a good place, but over time, in practice, it no longer achieves its purpose as well as it could.

We find that situation quite a bit when it comes to huddle boards. Teams get in the habit of the daily meeting, but after a while, it becomes a thing to check off the list every day, rather than a useful, efficient approach to improvement.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your huddle meeting and boards that will help you determine if you are on the right track or need a course correction.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Daily Lean Management, Visual Management

The Essential CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement) Glossary

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Dec 15, 2017 7:09:00 AM

CQI, like many other disciplines, has a language all its own. Many of the terms are acronyms, others are Japanese words retained from Toyota’s original improvement methodologies, and some reference specific techniques that may be unfamiliar. So, if you’re a bit confused when getting into the weeds of CQI, you are not alone. This is not a comprehensive list of improvement terms, but it is a good start and should be a welcome asset to anyone new to the approach. We’ll tackle the list alphabetically.

5S: This is a workplace organization technique with roots in the Japanese auto industry. The five words that start with S in both Japanese and English are sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain. 

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Methodology

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: Continuous Improvement Software, Daily Improvement, Improvement Methodology

How Digitizing Your Idea Boards Amplifies their Impact

Posted by Jake Sussman

Sep 5, 2017 7:21:00 AM

If you have (or are considering creating) an idea board to collect employee suggestions for improvement, please take a minute to pat yourself on the back. You obviously realize the value of employee ideas and understand that not all innovation comes from the top down. You are also willing to act on that instinct and try to gather opportunities for improvement from all sources. Good for you!

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Daily Improvement, Improvement Methodology

Why We Care So Much About Continuous Process Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 24, 2017 11:18:18 AM

If you’ve visited this blog with any frequency, you may have noticed that we are very passionate about the work we do. Don’t get me wrong, it is work and we're in business to sell software, but way beyond that, we really believe in the work that our solution supports. Recently, a friend noticed that I was sharing articles about continuous process improvement on my personal Twitter feed and LinkedIn pages and she asked me why I was so into this stuff. That’s a good question so, Carol, this blog’s for you.

Every member of the KaiNexus team believes in the power of incremental improvement because:

It Starts from a Place of Optimism

The very fundamental premise of continuous process improvement is, “It can be better.”  That’s a pretty positive outlook from our point of view. Sure, problems will crop up and it often takes a lot of effort to replace the old way of doing things with something new, but if you believe in the power of positive change there isn’t much you can’t overcome.

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Daily Improvement

No Time for Gemba Walks? Spend More Time On Gemba Walks.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 10, 2017 7:25:00 AM

In talking with business leaders over the years, we’ve learned that Gemba Walks are a bit like eating better and getting more exercise. Everyone agrees that they are good for you, but many folks don’t get around to them. It isn’t that these leaders are lazy or unmotivated - quite the opposite. They are often busy responding to the crisis of the day and juggling multiple pressing priorities. Gemba Walks get pushed down to the bottom of the list because they aren’t associated with a deadline or urgent deliverable. But in an ironic twist, one of the best ways to ensure that you have time to visit the Gemba is to spend more time visiting the Gemba.

We’ll explain.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Improvement

Common Questions about Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 5, 2017 7:05:00 AM

We’ve noticed a theme to many of the conversations that we’ve been having with clients and at the events we’ve attended lately. Lots of folks have questions about the concept of Continuous Quality Improvement or CQI for short. We’ve put together some answers to the questions we are asked most often and even a few that people don’t ask, but they really should.

Is Continuous Quality Improvement Just for Manufacturing Companies?

This comes up quite a bit with many of the methodologies that our improvement management software helps customers manage. The literature around CQI and other techniques is full of references to manufacturing because many of the methods got their start in that sector. Approaches like Lean, Six Sigma, TQM and others were first applied in auto manufacturing and then spread to factories that made just about anything.

But other industries began to take note of the success of improvement efforts in manufacturing and realized that the core principles of CQI can be applied to almost any sector. We now see the approach being applied in healthcare, higher education, construction, software development, transportation and almost any industry you can name. This is because all of them are made up of a series of processes that can be broken down, analyzed and made better.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement, Quality, Daily Improvement, Improvement Methodology

Common Conceptions that Hinder Continuous Process Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 10, 2017 1:04:16 PM

I’ve been sitting here for five minutes debating with myself over whether to title this blog “Common Conceptions that Hinder Continuous Process Improvement” or “Common Misconceptions that Hinder Continuous Process Improvement.” I decided to go with “conceptions” because I don’t know whether these frequently held beliefs are accurate or not within your organization. We do know from countless conversations with our customers that they are devastating to a culture of improvement whether they are true or not. Here’s how you can combat them in either case.

 

“That’s Not My Job.”

Of course, everyone in the organization has a defined role and set of responsibilities. Most of each person’s time and attention should be focused on their core function, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be expected contribute beyond that scope. No one, for example, should ignore an urgent safety situation and everyone should be held accountable for participating in improvement work.

How do you overcome this notion? With both recognition and ownership. People who go beyond the bounds of their usual role to solve problems and achieve continuous process improvements should be widely recognized and perhaps even rewarded. It is also a good idea to make process improvement one of the elements that get considered when employee performance is evaluated.

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Topics: Improvement Process, Daily Improvement

Taking Your Idea Boards to the Next Level

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 21, 2016 8:09:00 AM

There are a few fundamental principles that organizations dedicated to daily, incremental improvement seem to share. They believe that every employee can contribute to positive change and that opportunities for improvement can be found by anyone. They know that not all improvement needs to be revolutionary or involve a major investment. And they agree that team members who engage in improvement should be recognized and rewarded.

In many organizations, one artifact of these beliefs is the idea board. We’re big fans of idea boards, but we’d like to suggest one way to make them even more useful.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Kaizen, Lean

3 Ways to Get More Out of Your Huddle Boards and Meetings

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 14, 2016 7:47:00 AM

Huddle boards, along with quick daily huddle meetings are popular continuous improvement techniques. They are particularly prevalent in health care organizations but can be used by companies in any industry. The purpose of the huddle board is to provide a method of visual management and involve all employees in the effort to create positive change.

We’ve had the chance to chat with many people who have introduced huddle boards with varying degrees of success. These conversations have revealed a few best practices and mistakes to avoid. Here are our top three tips for successful huddle boards and meetings.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Improvement, Daily Lean Management

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