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KaiNexus Blog

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13 Essential Process Improvement Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 16, 2019 8:59:37 AM

After many years speaking with leaders and managers looking to implement continuous 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, 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

More Brilliantly Simple Continuous Improvement Techniques

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 4, 2019 2:35:56 PM

A while back, we wrote about some continuous quality improvement techniques that we love because they are easy but powerful. One of the most important realizations that people have, when they start to build an organization focused on excellence and constant improvement, is that the path is not complicated. It’s really all about getting the little things right and providing people with a structured way to think about incremental operational change. The original post contained some of our favorite tools. This one has a few more.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

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

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