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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Kaizen 101. New to The Approach? Start Here.

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 23, 2021 10:16:00 AM

The world was first introduced to kaizen's philosophy and practice in 1986 with Masaaki Imai's book, Kaizen, The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. Today, it still holds up as an excellent read for anyone interested in finding ways to make their organization more successful at achieving continuous improvement. 

While kaizen concepts are straightforward, volumes have been written about how organizations build the improvement mindset into operations and culture. Our goal with this post is to give you the basic framework of kaizen and hopefully leave you excited about exploring the ways you might begin to transform your organization into one that consistently exhibits operational excellence.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture, Improvement Methodology

What is a Kaizen Event? Your Complete Guide Rapid Improvement

Posted by Clint Corley

Feb 9, 2021 10:09:00 AM

Kaizen events, also called rapid improvement sprints or blitzes, are an impactful way to implement improvement quickly, but they require planning and preparation to make them useful. We've heard many stories about Kaizen events that went wrong. That's not surprising because there are many ways that improvement events can go off the rails. The best way to avoid that outcome is to put in the effort ahead of time to ensure your event is a huge success.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology

21 Tweetable Kaizen Quotes to Inspire

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 24, 2020 2:28:23 PM

Did you now that the number of people actively using Twitter is over 270 million? Over 50 million people have joined the social media platform in the last year. This year, it's expected that 20% of internet users in the US will be on Twitter. Needless to say, Twitter is a great way to share your ideas with the world. With over 300 billion Tweets shared since Twitter first launched, I think it's time that we get some more out there about kaizen. Help me out, spread messages of #Kaizen on Twitter!

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Topics: Kaizen

How to Build Kaizen into Employee Onboarding

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 17, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Much of the information published about establishing a culture of Kaizen is written for leaders who are introducing the concept to their entire organization for the first time. But once the Kaizen mindset is established, the job is not done. Looking for opportunities for positive change may be second nature to your long-term employees, but many new hires will have no knowledge of Kaizen or daily improvement. Without a plan for familiarizing these new team members with Kaizen, your carefully developed culture can quickly become diluted. That's why it is critical to bake Kaizen into your employee onboarding process. Here are our top tips for doing precisely that.

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Topics: Kaizen, Employee Engagement

14 Benefits of Standard Work

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 20, 2020 12:15:38 PM

Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, once said, “Without Standard Work there is no Kaizen.” That’s a pretty bold statement, but when you think about the continuous improvement cycle, it makes a lot of sense. How can you move from the current state to the desired state if the current state is a moving target? Standard Work, which documents the current best practice for performing a task or process, and ensures that everyone is applying it, is a prerequisite for improvement.

Here are 14 ways that Standard Work benefits organizations that leverage it.

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Topics: Lean, Kaizen

The 5 M’s of Kaizen for Managers

Posted by Brianna Hudock

Aug 18, 2020 10:44:00 AM

We often describe Kaizen as a way of looking at the world rather than a prescription for how to achieve positive change. Kaizen thinkers seek to make small changes to operations daily in search of higher quality, more efficiency, and less waste. But because the concept of Kaizen is so philosophical, it can be a challenge for people new to the idea to understand what it means in practical terms.

Related: What is Kaizen?

One useful tool for training managers to adopt the Kaizen mindset is called the 5 M’s. By consistently examining the 5 M’s, managers will be able to recognize when something in a process is not working and improve efficiency and profitability. This model can be used for risk mitigation, addressing safety issues, and improving quality. It can be used right alongside other Kaizen techniques such as the 5 Whys, 5S, and Gemba walks.

The 5 M’s are:

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership

7 Habits of Highly Effective Kaizen Thinkers

Posted by JJ Puentes

Aug 11, 2020 9:30:00 AM

The practice of Kaizen is not about a particular way of performing business operations or even a specific approach to process improvement. Instead, it is a way of thinking about business operations that can transform how you look at problems and open up new doors to innovation. Kaizen seeks to move operations nearer and nearer to perfection through incremental improvement. Embracing the approach is not only beneficial for organizations, but it can also accelerate the development and help the careers of individual employees as well.

Here are seven ways of thinking that can help you become a champion for positive change.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

The Interviewer’s Guide to Hiring for a Kaizen Culture

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 16, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Organizations that practice kaizen work hard to maintain a culture centered around continuous improvement. The best defense against push back and poor engagement is hiring only those employees who are likely to thrive in a culture of positive change.

Ideally, the conversation about continuous improvement will begin the moment a candidate is considered. Talking about the principles of kaizen during the interview will show the potential hire how important it is to the organization. The right questions can help you identify those who will do well in your organization and those who should look elsewhere.

Here are a few questions that will give you insight into how the candidate thinks.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture

4 Principles of Kanban

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 5, 2020 6:02:25 PM

We tend to think of just-in-time manufacturing as a relatively new concept. Dell builds your PC when you order it but does it quickly, so you are satisfied with the speed of delivery. Plus, Dell never has excess PC inventory on its hands. However, the idea is not new at all. In the 1940’s, Toyota began applying the principal to its production lines after taking a lesson from an unexpected place: the grocery store.

Shopping for Parts

Although situations at grocery stores are a little different now with the COVID-19 pandemic, the grocery store metaphor can still help breakdown the idea of Kanban (pronounced kahn-bahn).

When you go to the grocery store, it's rare to find an empty shelf. In the rare times you do, the shelves don’t stay empty for long. The reason is that the store has both the inventory on the shelf and some inventory in their own on-site warehouse. Grocery stores don’t want to stock more of an item than will be sold in a short enough time to ensure that the items are fresh and to reduce inventory costs. So, when a shelf is depleted, it is refilled from the on-site inventory and only then are new items ordered from the manufacturer to replace the warehouse products. This process is efficient and cost-effective for the store, and also reassuring to customers who can buy only what they need without fear of a future shortage of a favored product.

Toyota realized that the same principal would work for items needed on its manufacturing floor. They further enhanced the idea by adding Kanban cards, which served as a visual signal of the state of inventory. In fact, the word Kanban when translated directly means, "signboard, shopkeeper's in-business sign.” The approach can be applied to any business process, so its use is not limited to the manufacturing of hard goods.

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Topics: Kaizen

Checklist for Planning an Awesome Kaizen Event

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Feb 12, 2020 8:55:43 AM

Kaizen events are an effective tool for harnessing the innovative ideas and creativity of your workforce to implement rapid improvement in a specific area of the organization. In the literature about Kaizen events, a lot of emphasis is put on the event itself, but we have found that often the difference between success and failure is actually the pre-event planning phase. Here are some critical items that should be part of your event preparation.

 

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Topics: Kaizen

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