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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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How to Effectively Define Your Six Sigma Project Scope

Posted by Clint Corley

Sep 21, 2021 11:09:50 AM

Lean Six Sigma is a business optimization methodology that combines two popular continuous improvement methods, Lean and Six Sigma. These well-proven approaches give organizations a structured path to reaching their strategic goals quickly and profitably.  

While the driving force behind Lean Six Sigma is daily incremental improvement, implemented by employees at every level of the organization, it often involves discrete projects targeted at specific problems or goals. Therefore, defining the scope of each project is critical for both project success and ongoing measurement of the results.  

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Process, DMAIC

32 Business Process Improvement Examples to Guide Your Efforts

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 17, 2021 10:19:43 AM

One of the biggest challenges we hear from organizations that are new to structured business process improvement is that it is hard to articulate for employees what constitutes an opportunity for improvement. Usually, there are some low-hanging-fruit ideas that people jump on right away, but once those are cleared away, it can be difficult to spot flaws in processes, especially ones that you operate every day.

An excellent remedy for this problem is giving employees categories of improvement possibilities to consider. By providing a few examples and asking questions, leaders can spark ideas, get people thinking innovatively, and support their improvement cultures.

Once problems are identified, a variety of improvement techniques can be deployed to solve them.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process

How to Apply the Right Lean Tools for Every Improvement

Posted by Adam Darnell

Aug 12, 2021 12:32:45 PM

Whether or not your organization fully embraces the Lean manufacturing business paradigm or just borrows some of its best practices, the methodology has many valuable tools and techniques. There are so many that it can be challenging to decide which one to use for a given project or problem. There’s no “right” way to apply lean tools to achieve continuous improvement, but there are some situations for which particular techniques are generally well suited. 

We’ve broken down the most valuable tools that can be leveraged to support daily improvement, problem-solving, waste elimination, and strategic planning in this post. Before we get into specific tools, however, it is helpful to understand the common goals of all Lean tools. Each performs one or more of the following functions: 

  • Communicate Information  
  • Define and Share Standards
  • Enforce the Standards
  • Bring Attention to Variation
  • React to Variation 
  • Prevent Variation from Occurring

Lean practitioners deliver maximum value to the customer by eliminating waste and creating processes that produce consistent, predictable results. These Lean management and total quality tools are used to achieve those goals.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Lean Software

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

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

How to Measure Process Improvement and Why You Should

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jul 27, 2021 1:26:07 PM

Organizations that strive for continuous improvement outpace the competition, regardless of the types of products or services they offer. From retail and manufacturing to healthcare and construction, the intensity of effort dedicated to daily positive change in an organization is directly tied to customer satisfaction and financial success.

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Topics: ROI, Improvement Process

Common Questions About the DMAIC Cycle for Improvement

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 17, 2021 1:34:12 PM

The DMAIC cycle is often called Six Sigma’s roadmap to improvement. It is one of the core tools of the methodology, but organizations also use it as a standalone improvement technique. We have clients in almost every industry, from healthcare to construction, who have achieved quantifiable impact against core business metrics by using the DMAIC approach. 

Here are some of the questions we get asked about the DMAIC cycle most often.

 

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Topics: Six Sigma, Improvement Process, DMAIC

DMAIC Tools Offer a Solid Structure for Problem Solving

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 11, 2021 10:30:14 AM

DMAIC (Deh-May-Ick) tools are some of the most critical options in the continuous improvement toolbox. They are most closely associated with the Six Sigma methodology. Still, the DMAIC approach to problem-solving is also used by those who practice Lean manufacturing or don’t use a formal management structure. DMAIC is so widely used because the problem-solving framework takes teams from discovering root causes to long-term, stable standard work. It is a repeatable process that employees can learn to apply to any number of process problems.  

What Are DMAIC Tools?

DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.  Motorola is credited with bringing it to prominence, although it was essentially an evolution of the Toyota production system.

A deeper dive reveals why it works so well.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process, DMAIC

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

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