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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

Use A3 Process Mapping for Root Cause Problem-Solving

Posted by Clint Corley

Aug 5, 2021 9:13:00 AM

Most companies today work to improve their performance continuously. The basis of this improvement is practical problem-solving. Unfortunately, many organizations are not very adept at solving the day-to-day, year-to-year problems that they face. Most are very good at emergency firefighting but not as effective at solving the root causes and ensuring that problems don't recur. 

One company that figured it out is Toyota. Toyota's approach to continuous improvement is among the most studied and copied in the world. Many of the tools and techniques they practice are replicated in organizations of all types and sizes across the globe. One such method is called A3 process mapping. When used with the PDSA improvement cycle, it can significantly impact an organization's improvement efforts and deliver structured change that impacts critical business metrics.

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

How A3 Thinking in Healthcare Achieves Quality Outcomes

Posted by Mark Graban

Jul 30, 2021 6:44:32 PM

For those who are new to continuous improvement, all of the terminology and improvement methodologies can get a bit overwhelming. Our experience is that a culture of improvement and innovation requires three things: leadership, method, and technology. Of course, we have a strong opinion about which technology is best, but which methodology makes the most significant impact in healthcare?

Trick question. Many - or even all - of them are valuable tools for improving financial and patient outcomes.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

13 Transformative Process Improvement Tools and Ideas

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 28, 2021 5:45:20 PM

After many years of speaking with leaders and managers looking to implement 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 or idea, 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 Fundamental Principles of Kaizen Project Management

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jun 14, 2021 12:49:13 PM

The continuous improvement methodology of Kaizen was once closely associated with industrial and automotive manufacturing. That’s because the Kaizen philosophy originated in the Japanese auto industry and was then later adopted by technology manufacturers like GE and Motorola.

But if you’ve been hearing about Kaizen project management in other sectors over the last few years, you are not alone.

The principles of Kaizen can lead to continuous improvement in almost every industry. The approach is now widespread in healthcare, construction, software development, education, logistics, and everything in between.

You won’t learn everything about Kaizen in any one blog post, but we can lay out the fundamentals of Kaizen project management.

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership, Improvement Methodology

How to Design and Use an A3 Management Process Template

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 3, 2021 4:23:43 PM

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

They certainly contributed a lot but, companies like Motorola, General Electric, Nike, and others have enhanced thinking about the power of positive change. In fact, these days companies far outside of the manufacturing sector including those in healthcare, construction, and higher education are finding new ways to inch closer to business process perfection.

However, there is no denying that many of the tools and techniques that businesses of all sorts find useful were developed as part of the Toyota Production System.

The A3 management process is one example.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Three Steps to Applying the A3 Problem-Solving Methodology

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Apr 21, 2021 1:33:07 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

DMAIC Model:  An Essential Guide

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 5, 2021 5:33:13 PM

DMAIC is a structured, customer-focused, data-driven approach to problem-solving. The acronym stands for:

1- Define

2- Measure

3- Analyze

4- Improve

5- Control

It is often associated with the Lean Six Sigma business methodology, but it can be valuable for any organization.


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Topics: Improvement Methodology, DMAIC

Kaizen 101. New to The Approach? Start Here.

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 23, 2021 10:16:00 AM

The world was first introduced to kaizen's philosophy and practice in 1986 with Masaaki Imai's book, Kaizen, The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. Today, it still holds up as an excellent read for anyone interested in finding ways to make their organization more successful at achieving continuous improvement. 

While kaizen concepts are straightforward, volumes have been written about how organizations build the improvement mindset into operations and culture. Our goal with this post is to give you the basic framework of kaizen and hopefully leave you excited about exploring the ways you might begin to transform your organization into one that consistently exhibits operational excellence.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture, Improvement Methodology

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