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KaiNexus Blog

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A Quick Guide to the Kaizen Methodology

Posted by Clint Corley

Aug 26, 2019 12:17:22 PM

If you are exploring ways to make your organization more efficient and better at sustaining continuous improvement, you may have come across references to the Kaizen Methodology. Masaaki Imai introduced the Kaizen Methodology to the world in 1986 in his book Kaizen, The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. We recommend giving it a read along with several other titles that we’ll share at the end of this post. Our goal today is to provide you with the basics of the Kaizen Methodology and hopefully leave you wanting to learn more.

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Topics: Kaizen

Kaizen and the Art of Kintsugi: Redefining Perfection

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 21, 2019 1:05:48 PM

As regular readers of this blog know, many of the ideas and practices that guide the modern continuous improvement movement have their origins in Japanese philosophy and culture. Today’s leaders talk about kaizen (improvement), hoshin kanri (direction setting), and kanban (visual management) regularly. Recently, while scrolling through my Instagram feed of all things, I was struck by another Japanese concept that deserves some thought in the business context as well – the art of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi which translates to “golden journey” and is also known as Kintsukurio (golden repair) is the art of repairing broken pottery by joining the broken pieces with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. No attempt is made to hide the repair; in fact, the technique highlights it. The repair becomes part of the history of the object. The object is not beautiful despite the fact that it was broken, it is more beautiful because it was broken.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Kaizen

6 Things People Need to Hear About Kaizen Events

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 5, 2019 11:50:49 AM

With more and more companies in almost every industry adopting the Lean management approach or at least taking a few pages from it, Kaizen events are more popular than ever. That’s wonderful because they can be a very useful tool for improving processes and teaching leadership. But, unfortunately, we’ve seen too many instances of organizations that try to cut corners or fail to understand the best way to utilize Kaizen events. It would be nice if they were as easy as getting a few folks in a room for a couple of days and – presto – problem solved.

Sadly, that’s not how it works. We hate to burst the bubble, but Kaizen events require planning, leadership, and precise application. Here is the truth about successful rapid improvement events, whether folks want to hear it or not.

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Topics: Lean, Kaizen

Hints for Creating a Kaizen Training Plan

Posted by Clint Corley

Jun 24, 2019 7:56:00 AM

I might have written here before that Kaizen isn’t really a thing you do; it’s a way of thinking that leads you to do a bunch of things differently. Every leader wants an army of employees who are always on the lookout for an opportunity to create positive change. Organizations thrive when every person is accountable for innovation and improvement. But the Kaizen mindset isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Some people have worked in cultures of strict top-down management where employee ideas are not welcome and doing what you were told to do is all anyone expects. That’s why Kaizen training is so important.

Here are our best tips on creating a Kaizen training plan that will work for your team.

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Topics: Kaizen

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

How to Justify, Evaluate, and Implement Kaizen Software Solutions

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jun 6, 2019 9:48:49 AM

We get the chance to chat with lots of people who have concluded that a Kaizen software solution will help them get the most out of their continuous improvement efforts. But most people have never sought such a solution before, and they are unsure how to convince the rest of the organization that it is time to move forward.

To help, we’ve put together some tips on how to convince the team that investing in a software solution for Kaizen will result in positive returns, demonstrate that you know what to look for, and give everyone confidence that implementation will be successful.

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Topics: Kaizen, Software

Kaizen Process - Roles and Responsibilities

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 10, 2019 7:42:00 AM

The Kaizen process is a brilliantly simple approach to business operations. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “good change.” The methodology is credited with helping the Japanese auto industry recover and outpace the competition following World War II. Organizations that embrace it can reduce errors and defects, speed up production, deliver more customer value, and improve employee satisfaction.

When the Kaizen process is implemented, every person in the organization has a role to play. Before we describe them, let’s revisit the philosophy of Kaizen.

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership

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

What Happens When an Organization Takes a Kaizen Approach to Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 25, 2019 7:32:00 AM

In my opinion, Kaizen is one of the most brilliantly simple, yet powerful business philosophies there is. Translated from Japanese, it simply means, “good change.” The Kaizen approach rests on the principle that everyone should be involved in improvement, every day. It is a form of mutual respect that empowers employees to create the conditions under which they can do their best work.

Organizations that embrace the Kaizen approach are all over the map in terms of industry, geography, and size, but there are a few ways that you can recognize them. Kaizen has a transformative impact, and some common attributes start to emerge when the approach is consistently applied.

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Topics: Kaizen

Your Kaizen Board Software Selection Guide

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jan 29, 2019 1:37:22 PM

Kaizen boards are excellent tools for visualizing the progress of work and capturing ideas for improvement. They give teams instant insight into the health of improvement and make excellent starting places for daily huddles and other meetings. When the Kaizen board is managed in online software, teams can collaborate across locations, the entire organization can benefit from collected knowledge, and the documents and other artifacts can be linked to items on the board, accelerating the pace of improvement.

Because of the popularity of digital Kaizen management, many software providers are offering up solutions that are marketed for that purpose. That’s good news for people concerned about continuous improvement, but there’s a catch. Not every solution is purpose-built for Kaizen. Some are general project management solutions with a new marketing spin, while others are rudimentary improvement tools at best.

Make sure to look for the following attributes in each solution you consider.

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Topics: Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Software

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