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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Improve DMAIC Process Results with Improvement Software

Posted by Lisa Hanna

Jun 11, 2019 7:42:00 AM

DMAIC is a widely used structured process improvement technique developed at Motorola in the 1980s. It is popular among organizations that use the Lean manufacturing or Six Sigma business methodologies but is also used as a stand-alone continuous improvement tool. It helps teams tackle challenges by finding root causes and applying thoughtful fixes. DMAIC ensures that change is well documented, managed, and successful.

Improvement software is not required to complete a DMAIC process, but there are smart reasons for making it part of your organization’s approach. Technology can help speed up the DMAIC process, it helps to measure the results, and it creates your organization’s repository of knowledge. In fact, software has a role to play during each stage of the DMAIC process. Here’s how it works.

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

Kaizen Program Management – The Fundamentals

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jun 7, 2019 7:32:00 AM

For many years, the continuous improvement philosophy of Kaizen was most closely associated with industrial manufacturing and high technology. That’s because it was developed by the Japanese auto industry and then later adopted by technology companies like GE and Motorola.

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

The principals of Kaizen apply to almost every industry and are now widespread in healthcare, construction, software development, education, logistics, and everything in between.

We can’t teach you everything you need to know in one blog post, but we can lay out the fundamentals of Kaizen program management and offer further reading recommendations.

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership, Improvement Methodology

What is Total Quality Management?

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 29, 2019 12:06:39 PM

Total Quality Management (abbreviated as TQM) as it is practiced today was developed by Dr. William Deming, a famed management consultant whose 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.

Let’s look at how.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology

3 Thought Provoking Business Process Improvement Examples

Posted by Noah Paratore

May 24, 2019 8:23:00 AM

We talk a lot about the mechanics of business process improvement and the technology to support it on this blog. Today, we thought we’d share some real-world examples of process improvements that made a difference to critical performance metrics.

They come from a wide array of industries and target vastly different problems. What they have in common is that someone recognized an opportunity for improvement, found the root cause, and implemented a fix.

To top it off, none of these improvements cost a dime.

You probably don’t have these specific challenges, but these business process improvement examples might get you thinking in a new way about the ones you do face.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

A Step-by-Step Walkthrough of the DMAIC Process

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 12, 2019 7:56:00 AM

DMAIC is a structured, customer-focused, data-driven approach to problem-solving. The acronym stands for “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.” It is often associated with the Lean or Six Sigma business methodologies but can be valuable for any organization looking to support incremental improvement.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology, DMAIC

Common Excuses for Neglecting the Continuous Improvement Cycle

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 3, 2019 7:43:00 AM

Every business leader we talk to says that they would like to achieve continuous improvement. We’ve never heard one yet say, “Nah, who needs that?” But, strangely, not every organization has implemented a structure to support improvement or worked to develop a culture that values it.

That seems odd, right?

It turns out that this isn’t the result of leaders who are stupid or lazy. There are a lot of ways to rationalize against the effort and investment it takes to make using a continuous improvement cycle part of everyday operations. But if you press on these ideas a bit, you’ll find that they deflate under pressure. Here are a few that we see quite a bit.

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Topics: Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology, DMAIC

The Journey Toward Performance Excellence

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Mar 15, 2019 7:11:00 AM

The urgency to improve organizational performance is at an all-time high. Today’s customers expect more value for every dollar, knowledgeable employees are difficult to find and retain, competition is fierce, technology and data grow increasingly complex, and business models evolve ever more quickly. Given all of that and the complexity of modern organizations, a scatter-shot approach to improvement is not enough. Organizations need a systematic approach to incremental change that will drive them toward the ultimate goal of performance excellence.

The Baldrige Framework, which was developed in 1987 as a public-private partnership to be managed by the Department of Commerce, specifically the National Bureau of Standards (now called the National Institute of Standards and Technology – or NIST), provides a structure that organizations can use to diagnose weaknesses and set priorities for improvement. The approach has been proven to help organizations transform with respect to customer satisfaction, employee engagement, leadership effectiveness, resource optimization, and ultimately performance excellence.

 

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Topics: Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology, Operational Excellence

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, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology, DMAIC, Visual Management

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: Lean, Kaizen, Improvement Methodology

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: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Methodology

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