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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


9 Answers to the Most Common Questions About Gemba Walks

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 9, 2018 7:06:00 AM

Maybe it is because it is a brand-new year, or perhaps it is the cold weather, but lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Lean management technique of Gemba walks. We compiled them for this post that we hope will be helpful for people who are new to the approach and even seasoned pros who want to get more from each visit to the workplace.

What is a Gemba Walk?

Gemba walks are an improvement technique used in the Lean business methodology and by others who are interested in continuous improvement. During a Gemba walk a supervisor, manager, or other leader goes to the place where work is done to get deeper insight into how processes are performing and to spot potential opportunities improvement. The technique is often described as:

  • Go see
  • Ask why
  • Show respect
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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Improvement Methodology

The 2017 The Lean Management System Blog Roundup

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 29, 2017 1:21:55 PM

As 2017 comes quickly to a close, we took a minute to look back over some of the blogs we’ve posted on one of our favorite topics, the Lean Management system. If you are interested in learning more about Lean management, or continuous improvement in general, this post is a great place to start.

We’ve curated our best content on the subject and pulled together some descriptions and excerpts.

Links to each post are provided if you are interested in learning more. Enjoy!

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management, Continuous Improvement Software

"Lean Thinking" and the 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 2, 2017 7:02:00 AM

James Womack and Dan Jones are the founders of the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Lean Enterprise Academy (UK), respectively. Their book, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, is considered by some to be the bible of Lean manufacturing.  It was originally published in 1996 based on their in-depth study of Toyota’s fabled Toyota Production System (TPS). Philip Caldwell Chairman and CEO of Ford from 1980-1985, said of the book, “Truly remarkable...The most comprehensive, instructive, mind-stretching and provocative analysis of any major industry I have ever known.” 

Lean Thinking lays out the five Lean manufacturing principles; value, value streams, flow, pull, and perfection.  Here’s some insight into what Womack and Jones meant by each.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management

16 Questions to Ask on Your First (or Next) Gemba Walk

Posted by Kade Jansson

Apr 24, 2017 10:09:10 AM

Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho gave a brilliantly simple description of what to do on a Gemba walk. "Go see, ask why, show respect," he said. That’s it in a nutshell. During a Gemba walk, supervisors and leaders go to the place where work is done (the Gemba). They observe (not fix) processes and activities and ask questions that will help lead to future improvements.

“Why?” is certainly an important question, but it is by no means the only one. We’ve put together a list of other questions that may be useful, especially if you are new to Gemba walks or if you are taking a look at a process for the first time. They may not all make sense in your situation, but perhaps they will trigger additional ideas.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Gemba Walk

Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Lean Software in 2017

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 29, 2016 7:24:00 AM

One of the many things we love about this time of year is the opportunity to reflect back on what we’ve accomplished (or survived) over the past twelve months. It’s also a great moment to set the stage for success in the year to come. If you practice the Lean management approach or plan to do so in 2017, one way to ensure that you get the most out of your improvement and waste reduction efforts is to invest in Lean software. Doing so gives you a number of advantages that will amplify your results and ease the path to achieving your most important goals. Here are some of them.

Listen to this post as a podcast (subscribe to the series):

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Topics: Innovation Software, Lean, Software, Daily Lean Management

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: Daily Improvement, Lean, Daily Lean Management

Everyday Examples of the 8 Wastes of Lean

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 13, 2016 7:30:00 AM

If you are striving to become a Lean organization, waste elimination is probably near the top of your list. In fact, Lean practitioners have identified very specific types of waste, known collectively as the 8 Wastes of Lean. Certain types of waste are really easy to spot and fix, while others can remain unnoticed. We thought it might be helpful to share some practical examples of how each type of waste occurs in business and in the larger world.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management, Lean Healthcare

"Practice? We're Talking About Practice?" Yes, Practicing Lean

Posted by Mark Graban

Aug 4, 2015 8:48:00 AM

Allen Iverson was a legendary NBA point guard and scorer who played from 1996 to 2011. 

In a 2002 news conference that still appears regularly on ESPN, Iverson responded to criticism that he missed practice (due to injury) and he somewhat indignantly asked (over and over) some variation of:

"We're talking about practice?"

Iverson wasn't complaining about having to practice, but more about the media's insistence on asking questions about practice, which is a topic he apparently didn't think was too interesting to talk about.

Listen to Mark read the post as part of our Podcast series:

Practice is certainly important. Maybe not when you're already as good as Iverson was.


But for most of us, we're still getting better through practice. We make mistakes and, hopefully, learn from them. Yes, we can learn through our own reflection, but I think we learn more when we're coached or mentored by somebody who's more experienced than we are. This is true for basketball, and this is true for Lean

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management

Do Spreadsheets Work For Continuous Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 27, 2015 6:42:00 AM

327536006_d1f6998aff_mManaging improvement work is hard. We often find ourselves constantly fighting fires, leaving us little time to improve our own improvement processes.

Ironic, isn’t it?

In trying to improve our organizations, we all too often end up making due with what we have and simply doing the best we can. For many organizations, this means a reliance on spreadsheets as a tool for managing continuous improvement. Spreadsheets have their advantages - they automate math, most people know how they work, and just about everyone with a computer has access to them. But, there are problems… for example, a spreadsheet on a shared drive can easily get corrupted or out of sync if multiple people try to open it at once.

Honestly, many people are still using spreadsheets simply because they’re easy and familiar - “the way we’ve always done it,” perhaps.  

Those reasons don’t sound very Lean to me.

As practitioners of continuous improvement, it’s important that we take the time to not only look for opportunities for improvement throughout the organization, but also that we take the time to examine our own work. This will enable us to maximize the impact of our efforts throughout the organization.

Here are some common lies we tell ourselves about our spreadsheets:

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Innovation Software, Software, Daily Lean Management

Free Guide To Daily Lean Management

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 10, 2014 7:46:00 AM

Ever wondered what it takes to get started with daily Lean management? Or perhaps you've made an honest effort to get the ball rolling in your organization, but can't get your Lean efforts to take off. 

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management

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