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KaiNexus Blog

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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

11 Essential Elements of a Kaizen Event Charter

Posted by Jake Sussman

May 7, 2019 1:30:15 PM

While we are huge fans of standardization and consistency, we understand that each Kaizen event is unique. That’s why we would expect that each event charter has its own nuances that change from one project to the next. However, there are some elements that our clients have found to make the difference between a successful event and one that does not reach the mark.

Before we get into the specifics of what should be included in the charter document, we’d like to add a note about access. You may have the most complete, and well-written Kaizen event charter on the planet, but it is of no use unless everyone who needs access to it can get to it with ease.

Whether you craft it as a document, use an Excel format, or something else, your improvement management platform is the best place for it to live.

Now on to the must-have components.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

How Hoshin Planning Aligns with PDSA

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 19, 2019 7:32:00 AM

We get a lot of questions from leaders about which continuous improvement tools and techniques they should use. Is DMAIC better than PDSA? Should I do Gemba walks or daily huddles? When do I use incremental improvement vs. a Kaizen event? These are all reasonable questions, but the great news is that most continuous improvement tools, including those popular with organizations that use the Lean or Six Sigma methodology, work very well together. In fact, in many cases, they were developed jointly.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Improvement Process, Strategy Deployment

Master Improvement with Kata Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 16, 2019 2:45:06 PM

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."

- Bruce Lee

 

Kata is a Japanese word that means form. In martial arts, it refers to a detailed choreographed pattern of movements that are practiced alone or in groups. Kata was a way that training methods and the most successful combat techniques were passed from generation to generation. This systematic approach to training allows students to develop the ability to perform the movements with reflex-like precision; they become second nature. When someone is new to the practice, the moves will look difficult, but once they become a master, each action will look effortless and smooth. Repetition, precision, and attention to form are the prerequisites for mastery.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process

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

Webinar Preview | How to Use Process Behavior Charts to Improve: Case Studies

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 14, 2019 8:22:00 AM

We recently had the honor of hosting a webinar with our Senior Adviser, Mark Graban, author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More as the presenting guest. Mark’s new book focuses on managing variation, understanding data, and leading improvement. Mark has been a part of KaiNexus in various capacities since 2011. In Addition to Measures of Success, he is also the author of Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, and Practicing Lean.

Over the last couple of years, Mark has been interested in how organizations can use data to differentiate between signal and noise. This post is a recap of Mark’s presentation. However, the webinar contains many more valuable examples, so we highly recommend that you watch the webinar.

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Topics: Improvement Process, Webinars, Visual Management

Resolutions to Help Achieve Your Process Improvement Goals in 2019

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jan 14, 2019 10:38:48 AM

We saved this post for a couple of weeks into the New Year to give everyone a chance to get their exercise/weight loss/financial planning resolutions out of the way. Hope it’s all going well - but 98.9% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

Ha, just kidding, I just made that up. But it rings true doesn’t it?!?

Why is changing habits so hard?

Certainly, unrealistic expectations are part of the problem. (You’re not going to lose 57 pounds by Marcia’s wedding in March.) But another part of the problem is that people focus on the “what” far more than the “why” and “how.”

That’s why we are going to focus on exactly why these resolutions will help you achieve your process improvement goals and how you can do it. These are a few simple, achievable, and measurable steps you can take to make 2019 a breakthrough year for continuous improvement.

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process

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

How to Apply the A3 Problem-Solving Methodology

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Dec 14, 2018 8:01:00 AM

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 method, 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. This makes the report easy to digest.

Because our solution supports the A3 technique, we are often asked for tips on how to deploy it. Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind.

Webinar Recording: The Lowdown on A3 Software

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

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