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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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What Are the Most Popular Methods for Managing Continuous Improvement?

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 10, 2019 8:11:00 AM

Organizations that embrace the continuous improvement approach to business have many great tools and techniques from which to choose. Some organizations use them as part of a structured methodology like Lean, Six Sigma, or Toyota Kata. Others leverage them on their own. Every organization has unique needs and will need to adjust each method for their own environment, but the most popular techniques are flexible enough to be used by organizations of every size and in every industry.

 

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Topics: Lean, Visual Management, DMAIC, Improvement Methodology, Improvement Process

Improvement Kata - A Workout for Kaizen

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 31, 2018 11:15:22 AM

In fitness, there’s nothing complicated about a push-up. But when executed properly, it’s an outstanding exercise that strengths your arms, chest, and core muscles. Adjustments can be made to increase or decrease the level of difficulty, so it is a useful training tool regardless of your fitness level. However, if you fail to use proper form and end up with your butt in the air or an incomplete range of motion, push-ups are not helpful at all. The way you do it really matters.

The same is true for Kaizen. Just like we’d all love to be strong and fit, every organization would love to maximize positive change. But not all teams that attempt continuous improvement succeed, often as a result of poor “form.” Improvement kata is the answer.

In Japanese, the word kata literally means "form." A kata typically refers to basic movements in Japanese martial arts but can apply to any basic form, routine, or pattern of behavior. In business, improvement kata brings form to process improvement by structuring the way people think about problem-solving and engage in change.

The kata process has four steps.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology, Lean

9 Reasons to Use an Online Idea Board in 2019

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 27, 2018 8:31:45 AM

We’ve had lots of great conversations with our clients over the last few weeks about the successes they’ve seen in 2018 and their plans to make 2019 even better. We are often asked what additional continuous improvement techniques we would recommend that they add in the new year to further challenge the team and maximize the impact of positive change.

One that we recommend to everyone who isn’t already using it is an online idea board. Even organizations that currently use a physical idea board can benefit immensely by taking the concept online. Here are the top 10 reasons we’re so confident that a digital idea board is the right way to go.

1. It is accessible, anytime from anywhere

When you implement an online idea board, you take all of the friction out of submitting or working on opportunities for improvement. People who spend time working away from the office can participate as if they were sitting right there. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my best ideas hit me when I’m driving home from work or singing in the shower. With an online idea board your team doesn’t have to remember to submit the thought the next time they are in the office, they can do it right away. The best digital boards even have mobile applications to make it even easier.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology, Continuous Improvement Software

How to Apply the A3 Problem-Solving Methodology

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Dec 14, 2018 8:01:00 AM

The A3 problem-solving methodology was first used by Toyota in the 1960s and later embraced by proponents of Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Lean, and other systematic approaches to continuous improvement. “A3” references a European paper size that is about the same size as an American 11-inch by 17-inch tabloid-sized paper. Using the A3 method, teams create a one-page improvement project report. By limiting the report to one page, teams are forced to be concise and thoughtful about including only relevant information. This makes the report easy to digest.

Because our solution supports the A3 technique, we are often asked for tips on how to deploy it. Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind.

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

10 Common Standard Work Mistakes

Posted by Clint Corley

Oct 10, 2018 8:14:00 AM

Standard Work is a brilliantly simple concept. The current best practice for a process or activity is defined and then improved upon when opportunities arise.

Easy, right?

Unfortunately, it is a little trickier than it sounds.

We work with organizations every day that are implementing a variety of improvement techniques, including Standard Work. We’ve seen it executed perfectly, but we’ve also seen a multitude of ways it can go wrong.

Here are some of the most common mistakes we see managers make when it comes to Standard Work.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

9 of Our Favorite Performance Improvement Methods

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 31, 2018 11:00:00 AM

We’re in the lucky position to have the opportunity to chat with leaders who are dedicated to organizational and employee performance improvement on a regular basis. Of course, we spend much time talking about improvement management technology, but we also like to get into the day-to-day tactical techniques that help our clients achieve their goals. We’re delighted to share some of the ones they love the most.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

Best Practices for Standard Work Documentation

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 5, 2018 8:11:00 AM

In his book, Standardized Work with TWI: Eliminating Human Errors in Production and Service Processes, Bartosz Misiurek writes, “Standard work is a process where you describe the best way of performing a given operation, improve this way, and train operators on it. As simple as it is to summarize, it is not as easy as it seems to execute.”

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why even though most leaders agree that process standardization is essential for producing quality, predictable results, when you pull back the covers, many organizations do not have standard work documented at all or have poor processes in place for keeping it accurate and up to date. That’s a shame because, without a solid foundation upon which to build and measure, improvement is elusive. We work with companies every day that have been through the process of implementing and socializing standard work. This post contains the best advice for standard work documentation that provides substantial value.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology, Improvement Process, Daily Lean Management

An Overview of A3 Management

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 21, 2018 3:16:56 PM

Whether you’ve read a ton about various business methodologies and the philosophy of continuous improvement, or just a little bit, you can’t be blamed if you’ve started to wonder if Toyota developed every improvement technique.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Methodology, Improvement Process

8 Valuable Lean and Six Sigma Tools To Try

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 25, 2018 10:45:00 AM

Six Sigma is a business management methodology that leverages a scientific approach to quality measurement with the aim of reducing variation and defects. The method was pioneered by Motorola and Allied Signal and then made famous by GE who boasted $10 billion in savings during the first years of implementation.

Lean is another methodology, philosophy, tool set, and management system that also uses a scientific problem solving approach, and more. "Lean" is a generic term that was given to the Toyota Production System, or TPS. The two pillars of TPS are usually described as "just in time flow" and "quality at the source."

Lean and Six Sigma are often used together by organizations in multiple industries, bringing methods and mindsets from each approach.

Many frameworks exist for implementing the methodologies. Many of those tools can be useful to organizations whether or not they fully embrace the Lean or Six Sigma approaches. Here are a few that our customers have found most valuable.

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Methodology

Fundamental Process Control Chart Concepts

Posted by Matt Banna

Apr 17, 2018 7:11:00 AM

Statistical control charts are a useful tool for managing and improving all sorts of processes. They’ve been used in manufacturing for decades and are increasingly popular in other industries from healthcare to higher education. Control charts give leaders a clear and consistent way of evaluating and talking about process behavior and performance. They help managers make good decisions about which processes are stable and which require attention.

While at first glance, they may look very simple, just a line graph with data points plotted over time, there are some important concepts that you should understand if you are new to the approach.

This post covers the basic, yet critical principles of control charts.

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Topics: Six Sigma, Visual Management, Improvement Methodology

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