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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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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

What to Include in Your Kaizen Event Template

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 6, 2018 7:34:53 AM

This post is the second in our series about Kaizen Event Templates. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, check out our guide to the ultimate pre-event template. We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the success of a Kaizen event is highly correlated to the amount of effort put into planning and preparation. Our pre-event template will help.

You’ll also want a template to use when the big day arrives. Our clients who get the most from Kaizen events use a standard template so that all of the right information is captured and can be shared in a familiar format. Kaizen software supports this by allowing users to create and disseminate their event templates.

You will probably have some unique needs or elements to capture, but here are the basics for a useful and simple Kaizen event template.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

The Perfect Template for Planning Your Kaizen Event

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 4, 2018 8:11:00 AM

Kaizen events, also called Rapid Improvement Events, involve a team dedicating all of their energy for three to five days on solving a specific challenge or implementing targeted improvements. They are resource intensive, but effective tools for organizations that are dedicated to consistent and constant improvement.

Because they are so quick and consuming, it is essential to be well prepared. In fact, planning for the event should get as much care and attention as the event itself. Our clients who have been successful with event planning have found that it helps to have a standard pre-event template that can be used every time a Kaizen event occurs. This ensures that everyone is using the same standards and that the essential boxes are checked. The best improvement management software solutions allow you to set up your Kaizen Event Templates within the system to make it easy for everyone to access and report relevant information.

Of course, each organization is different, but here are the elements that we recommend considering when you set up your rapid improvement templates.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

How to Have Better Team Huddles

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 25, 2018 8:12:00 AM

We recently had a chat with a potential client in a healthcare organization that has been doing daily team huddles for years. She has been frustrated by the lack of tangible results and the apparent disinterest of her team. People show up (unless they can find any reasonable excuse not to), but it is clear that the huddle is just one thing to check off the list each day, rather than a valuable exercise. She asked how to make the practice more useful and here’s what we recommended.

Set a Firm Time Limit

Daily huddle meetings are meant to be extremely focused and quick affairs. If you have the right measurements and technology in place (more on that in a minute), 15 minutes should be sufficient. That means that everyone will need to think ahead about what is important to discuss and stick to the most relevant topics for discussion. Keeping meetings quick makes them less burdensome and allows employees to schedule their day around them.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Improvement Process, Visual Management

What to Include in Your Kaizen Event Charter

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 21, 2018 7:45:00 AM

We recently had a conversation with a client who has been through a few too many failed Kaizen events. The team was unorganized, not well supported, and unable to obtain the desired results. When we dug in a bit more to try to figure out why, we learned that although there was a Charter document created for the event, it was incomplete and insufficient to serve as a guide for the team. We’re putting this post together to help this client and anyone else who might be new to Kaizen events or struggling to find success.

There are many ways you can layout your charter. Some organizations use templates that organize all of the information onto one page often in Excel, while others just use a simple document. The form isn’t as important as the content. It is also essential that the document is stored in your improvement management system so that it can be referenced in the future. Here are the elements it should include:

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

The Best and Worst Practices for Crowdsourcing Innovation

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 8, 2018 11:55:36 AM

We’ve written before about why internally crowdsourcing innovation is such a hot trend in business. (Actually, we don’t think it’s a trend at all. We believe it is a new way of approaching problem solving that is here to stay.)

While the benefits of the approach are compelling in terms of increased employee engagement, better products, less waste, and happier customers, success isn’t guaranteed.

There are some best practices that will amp up your results and a few behaviors that will hurt your efforts.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Improvement Process

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