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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Hidden Opportunities for Improvement in Manufacturing

Posted by Clint Corley

Dec 23, 2020 11:55:00 AM

Manufacturing organizations dedicated to continuous improvement look for opportunities to eliminate waste at every juncture. They may spend most of their time looking at core activities like production efficiency because improvements to essential processes result in significant gains.

However, there are many activities on the margins that can also be a significant source of waste. Improvements to these tasks might not yield monumental results, but the good news is they can be improved with just a little bit of attention and effort.

Is it possible that you might have opportunities for improvements hiding in plain sight? Here are a few places to look.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process

"Lean Thinking" and the 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Kade Jansson

Dec 3, 2020 1:10:46 PM

 

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

How To Reduce Waste with More Productive Meetings

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 20, 2020 10:56:00 AM

Even before the pandemic, most American workers felt that they were being forced into wasteful or even counterproductive meetings regularly. According to a study by Korn Ferry, 51% of professionals reported that spending too much time in meetings and on calls distracts them from making an impact at work to some extent. Another 16% said that it was true to a great extent. A whopping 67% of workers said excessive meetings keep them from getting their best work done.

Think that the sudden work to remote work driven by COVID-19 means fewer meetings? Think again.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Leadership, Daily Lean Management

Examples of the 8 Wastes of Lean in Everyday Life

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 2, 2020 4:39:28 PM

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

How to Hold Effective Huddle Meetings via Video

Posted by Adam Darnell

Apr 10, 2020 4:15:00 PM

The number of people who work from home has been growing at a steady pace for years. Widespread high-speed internet access and a ton of new productivity applications made it possible for 4.7 million people, 3.4 percent of the U.S. population, to work from home this February.

Of course, everything has changed since then.

Now, remote work isn’t a trend or a perk, it’s an imperative for all non-essential workers for the foreseeable future. All over the world, people are finding ways to adjust in-person processes to this new reality.

If daily huddle or stand up meetings were part of your team’s routine, we have some advice on how to transition them to virtual video conferences. Many of these tips will apply to any type of meeting you do via video.

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Topics: Software, Daily Lean Management

How (and Why) to Walk the Gemba When Everyone’s Working from Home

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 8, 2020 9:16:00 AM

As leaders, managers, and employees alike all grapple with the sudden disruption in routine work and life, go easy on yourself. It is going to take some time to adapt. Processes and tools that worked well in the first few months of the year will need to be adjusted, particularly if your team is now all working from home.

Gemba Walks are the perfect example. (If you are unfamiliar with Gemba walks, here’s a good introduction.) If your employees are working from home and practicing physical distancing, you can’t possibly go to the place where work is done.

But Gemba walks are such a valuable improvement tool, and if ever there was a time for identifying ways to make processes run better, this is it. Although the situation isn’t necessarily ideal, there are ways to adapt the Gemba walking technique and still enjoy the many benefits. Here are a few tips.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Gemba Walk

13 Essential Process Improvement Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 16, 2019 8:59:37 AM

After many years speaking with leaders and managers looking to implement continuous process improvement tools in their organizations, we’ve learned a few things. The first is that every organization is different and what scores a home run for one, may not even get a hit in another. The second is that despite these differences, many of the process improvement tools that have been developed over the last 50 years can be adapted to be useful for organizations of all types and sizes.

This post provides a brief introduction to some of the process improvement tools that our customers have used to reduce costs, improve safety, assure quality, and increase customer satisfaction. For each tool, we've included a link to more detailed information. Many are borrowed from the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, but you don’t have to be using one of them to find value in these techniques.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

The Lean Linchpin: Middle Managers

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 29, 2019 3:07:21 PM

A linchpin is a fastener passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position. The term is also used figuratively, according to Wikipedia, to describe, “something [or someone] that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.” What an apt description of the role of middle managers in a Lean environment.

When we talk about the Lean business management approach or just continuous improvement in general, we often say that it involves everyone from the CEO to front line workers. In the literature about Lean, a lot of emphasis is put on what top leaders need to do to create a culture of improvement. There’s also much discussion about how to keep operational workers involved and engaged. Both are essential, but it is a huge mistake to underestimate the role of middle management.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership, Daily Lean Management

Which Lean Manufacturing Tools Can Improvement Software Enhance?

Posted by Jake Sussman

May 22, 2019 12:39:31 PM

One of the reasons that the Lean manufacturing business methodology is so popular with companies in every industry is that it comes complete with a set of tools for structuring and managing the goal of continuous improvement and waste reduction. These tools are great on their own, but many of them become even more valuable when improvement management software is used as a single platform for managing positive change. This post examines some of the most often used.

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

The Lean Manufacturing Cheat Sheet

Posted by Lisa Hanna

Apr 30, 2019 8:34:00 AM

I created dozens of cheat sheets during my high school and college career. Don’t worry; I didn’t use them to cheat on the test. I found that the exercise of creating a crib card helped me review the relevant material and organize my thoughts, so when it was time for the exam, I was well prepared to do well without resorting to fraud. Anything that I would want to put on the sheet was something that I should fully understand.

You might not “test” your employees on the essential concepts in Lean manufacturing, but there are still some fundamental ideas that they should understand. We’ve put together this brief review of the most important as a place to start. If every team member can discuss and explain each of them, your potential for improvement is vast.

(Note, this post is meant to be a refresher, not an introduction to any of these concepts. For more in-depth information, click on the links at the top of each section.)

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management

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