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KaiNexus Blog

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How Digital Idea Boards Accelerate Innovation

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 16, 2018 4:31:20 PM

We’ve written before about the reasons that traditional suggestion boxes rarely result in lasting positive change. The biggest problem is that they are just a passive receptacle for employee ideas without any structure for ensuring that every suggestion is evaluated and many are implemented. Fortunately, there is a modern alternative that is helping companies in every industry achieve continuous daily improvement and even a few breakthrough ideas. Digital idea boards are the ideal alternative to suggestion boxes or improvement spreadsheets.

Here’s how they make innovation happen faster.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, Daily Lean Management, Suggestion Systems, Innovation Software

How to Spread the Kaizen Mindset

Posted by Clint Corley

Sep 12, 2018 12:45:00 PM


One of the most significant challenges leaders face when they embrace the Kaizen culture of continuous improvement is getting the philosophy to take hold and become part of the DNA of the organization. We often see small bright spots where Kaizen is clearly working, but other departments or teams that have not yet put continuous improvement to work.

To shed some light on how to spread the Kaizen mindset, we’ve looked to some of the most successful leaders in business.

Here is what they suggest.

Respect and Empower People

Showing respect for people is one of the fundamental principles of Kaizen. Respect fosters improvement by reinforcing for each team member that their input is valued and that management is interested in creating the conditions required for everyone to do their best work.

“People are entitled to joy in their work and a sense of ownership.”

W. Edwards Deming

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture

6 Reasons Organizations Fail to Achieve Continuous Improvement Goals

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 23, 2018 7:32:00 AM

We like to keep things positive in this blog, but once in a while, it makes sense to explore the roadblocks that organizations can face when trying to achieve continuous improvement. Recently, we’ve spoken to a few leaders who are disappointed with the results of their organization’s CI efforts. A quick triage of their continuous improvement goals usually uncovers one or more of these common mistakes.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Culture

What Sets Lean Organizations Apart?

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jul 2, 2018 3:37:03 PM

When people think of the Lean business management methodology, they often associate it primarily with waste reduction. The elimination of waste is indeed a significant goal of Lean organizations, and it does become a significant factor in decision making, but attention to waste reduction alone does not make an organization Lean. There are several factors that successful Lean organizations have in common.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Culture

10 Ways to Build a Culture that Supports CQI

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 30, 2018 9:42:19 AM

The dictionary defines corporate culture as, “The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” Every organization has a culture whether or not leaders think about it or try to shape it. But smart executives know that culture is a crucial (if not the most important) ingredient for success. Leaders who are dedicated to the practice of continuous quality improvement (CQI) should understand the role that culture plays and actively work to shape it. Here are ten best practices for creating a culture in which CQI can thrive.

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Topics: Quality, Improvement Process, Improvement Culture

How to Share Standard Work

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 19, 2018 11:22:06 AM

Standard Work is one of the bedrock elements of continuous improvement. In fact, Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, once said, “Without Standard Work, there is no Kaizen [positive change].”

Unfortunately, we’ve seen many organizations create a Standard Work document, check the box, and move on to business as usual.

This does little to stabilize processes or prepare for the next improvement. In order for Standard Work to be effective, it must be widely shared and actively managed.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process, 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

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: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Culture

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: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Culture

The 5 Things You Can't Spread Improvement Without

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 16, 2017 10:46:24 AM

When I was a kid, I used to slip out the back door in the mornings, whisk across the dewy yard, and sit in our tomato patch as the birds woke up across the neighborhood. It wasn’t a big garden - but it was big enough for a little girl to rest and smell the spring. If there’s one scent I associate with my childhood home in Virginia, it’s the tangy scent of blossoming tomato plants.

This year, for the first time in my adult life, I have my own yard. As the winter sky began to lighten and the woods behind my house turned from brown to green seemingly overnight, I couldn’t help but remember that childhood tomato patch. I ordered some heirloom seeds from the internet, dreaming of lemon-colored cucumbers, rainbows of tomatoes, and trailing vines of purple beans.

Now, to be frank, I have to say that my experience with gardening is limited to smelling my mom’s tomatoes. But how hard can growing seeds really be?

Turns out, it’s hard, you guys.

After tons of research, I decided on the plastic baggie method to sprout my little seeds. I laid them out with great precision, carefully spacing them and labeling the bags. I made large envelopes to keep them in the dark on a specially ordered heat mat.

And then I waited.

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A few days later, no progress.

A week later, a couple of sprouts!

A few days after that… a white, fuzzy, horrible mold smelling distinctly like death had overcome my would-be garden.

You see, I knew the basics of what a seed needs to grow. Moisture and warmth, and later, sunlight. Pretty basic stuff, right? We learned this in elementary school. 

What I didn’t realize was that they also need airflow. I did EVERYTHING else correctly, down to a T, but my seeds were still a total loss. You see, if you’re missing any one of the critical elements to growing plants, nothing will grow.

The same is true for an improvement culture.

It looks simple at first, and a quick Google search will tell you what you need to get started - a way to capture ideas, a way to collaborate, leadership behaviors - there’s so much content out there on this topic, it’s easy to feel like an expert. Then, when you struggle to spread your improvement culture, you’re left with a bag of moldy seeds wondering what went wrong.

Me? I was missing airflow. Your problems are much more difficult to solve, but as with my plants, the first step is figuring out exactly what you need for a sustainable improvement culture.

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Topics: Improvement Culture

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