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Everything Continuous Improvement

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A Quick Guide to the Basic Ideas of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 17, 2022 10:25:38 PM

Lean manufacturing is a process improvement methodology that started in the Japanese automotive manufacturing sector after World War II. Lean thinking aims to improve quality, speed production, and reduce costs by eliminating waste with continuous improvement driven by employees. Although the ideas were initially deployed in factories, the fundamental concepts apply to businesses of every sort. Today, Lean methods are used in hospitals, universities, construction, software development, and many other organizations.

A similar, data-driven approach to business is Six Sigma. It improves efficiencies and quality assurance based on reducing defects through process control and measurement. When the two methods are used together, the approach is called Lean Six Sigma. In any case, the bottom line is that many organizations benefit from a structured approach to continuous improvement. Many techniques, tools, and technologies support the journey to achieving an organization's short and long-term strategic goals.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

What is a Kaizen Event? Your Roadmap Rapid Improvement

Posted by Clint Corley

Jan 10, 2022 4:24:40 PM

Known in Lean and Six Sigma circles as Kaizen events, rapid improvement sprints or blitzes are an impactful way to implement improvement quickly. However, they require planning and preparation to make them effective. We've heard many stories about Kaizen events that went wrong. The best way to avoid that outcome is to put in the effort ahead of time to ensure your event is an unmitigated success.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology

What is Lean Process Management and How is it Applied?

Posted by Danielle Yoon

Jan 6, 2022 10:16:00 AM

Lean process management is a method for building a company culture that supports continuous improvement. It involves a long-term approach to daily work that encourages small, incremental changes in process operations to improve quality and efficiency.

The primary objective of Lean process improvement is to create value for the customer by optimizing resources and creating an uninterrupted workflow based on near real-time customer demands. In addition, the approach seeks to minimize or eliminate all waste of resources, effort, and time by documenting each step in a business process and then removing or reducing steps that do not create customer value. The concept of Lean is rooted in manufacturing, but it has been adapted to fit almost every industry.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

What is a Business Process Improvement Methodology?

Posted by Noah Paratore

Jan 4, 2022 10:18:06 AM

Business process improvement is a management practice that helps leaders leverage several tools and techniques to analyze their processes and uncover areas where improvement in accuracy, quality, and efficiency can be achieved. The leaders then work with process operators to redesign those processes to improve productivity and gain the expected improvements. Business process improvement techniques work by systematically identifying the operations, activities, or employee skills that might be enhanced to result in better workflow, more efficient use of resources, and better overall business results. Business Process Improvement (BPI) is also sometimes called functional process improvement.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

Three Steps to Applying the A3 Problem-Solving Methodology

Posted by Kade Jansson

Dec 14, 2021 1:04:41 PM

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 process, 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 needed to solve problems. 

Because our solution supports the A3 technique, and problem-solving and continuous improvement go hand in hand, we are often asked for tips on how to deploy it. Here are three steps to success.

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

9 Easy to Deploy Continuous Quality Improvement Tools

Posted by Danielle Yoon

Nov 24, 2021 10:30:11 AM

Quality management programs are often associated with large organizations, such as automotive manufacturing or large healthcare systems. These organizations often have teams dedicated to quality control, and they may leverage specific business process methodologies such as Lean or Six Sigma. While that level of sophistication may not be possible or even necessary for your business, there are still many continuous quality improvement tools that are easy to implement and can have an enormous impact on your organization, no matter its size.

Some of the following tools have been borrowed from Total Quality Management, Lean, and the Toyota production system. Still, they can be used independently of these methodologies to accelerate improvement in any organization.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Change Management, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Six Sigma FAQ: Which Tools are Commonly Used for DMAIC?

Posted by Kade Jansson

Nov 2, 2021 10:16:00 AM

The Six Sigma business methodology aims to eliminate waste and defects. It also aims to reduce variation in business processes. Efforts to improve are considered Six Sigma projects and are often made using a systematic model known as DMAIC. DMAIC stands for Define - Measure - Analyze - Improve - Control.

As with any other improvement effort, the ultimate goal of the DMAIC method is to improve customer satisfaction. The key to satisfaction is quality. Satisfied customers become loyal customers who engage in repeat business and refer others.

Lean management is another business methodology similar to Six Sigma and leverages many of the same tools, so if your business has deployed Lean, this content will be of value to you.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Methodology

Critical Considerations During the DMAIC Measure Phase

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 26, 2021 10:16:00 AM

Organizations turn to the Six Sigma business methodology to reduce variation, eliminate defects, and make operations more efficient and effective. One of the cornerstones of Six Sigma is the DMAIC process improvement cycle. DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control.

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Methodology, DMAIC

Answers to Common Questions about the Lean Management System

Posted by Morgan Wright

Sep 28, 2021 10:14:00 AM

The Lean Management System is a popular business process methodology that started in the manufacturing sector but quickly spread to healthcare, software development, construction, and a host of other fields. While its use is widespread, many of the business leaders we talk to still have questions about its origins, structure, and benefits. This post answers the ones we hear most often.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Lean, Improvement Methodology

The Total Quality Management (TQM) Improvement System

Posted by Kade Jansson

Sep 9, 2021 1:35:30 PM

The Total Quality Management system (abbreviated as TQM) as it is practiced today was developed by Dr. William Deming, a famed management consultant. His work helped transform Japanese manufacturing after World War II.

Although TQM has a lot in common with the Six Sigma methodology, they are not the same. Total Quality Management is focused on ensuring that process standards ensure a great customer experience, while Six Sigma is designed to reduce defects. The practice of TQM is about holding all parties involved in the production process accountable for the quality of the final product or service. It revolves around a customer-focused desire to achieve long-term success.

Let's look at how.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

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