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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


Top Reasons to Consider a Digital 5S Tool

Posted by Kade Jansson

Nov 18, 2021 3:32:01 PM

The 5S technique is part of a broader set of management practices known as visual management or visual control. Although these tools are often used by organizations that employ Lean management or the Toyota Production System, they can be used by any organization seeking to optimize workspaces and processes. 5S can be implemented without technology to support it, but our clients have found that the digital approach can smooth the process and amplify the results.

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Topics: Lean, Kaizen

The Vital Role of Electronic Kaizen at Toyota Memorial Hospital

Posted by Mark Graban

Sep 16, 2021 5:27:45 PM

Lean or the Toyota Production System often gets an unfair rap for being "anti-technology." Some of this mindset results from the old debate between using Material Resource Planning (MRP) computer systems to plan production or the more visual Lean methods of kanban cards and heijunka boxes. Even Toyota uses MRP systems, but they used them in their proper role—long-term planning instead of day-to-day execution.

Toyota uses a lot of technology on the production line, even though their factories tend to be slightly LESS automated than American or European automakers. Principle #8 of "The Toyota Way" philosophy spells out their view:

"Use only reliable, thoroughly-tested technology that serves your people and process."

Toyota doesn't expect technology to be a silver bullet (neither do we at KaiNexus). A Lean thinker would say not to automate a flawed process—for example, you shouldn't implement an "electronic suggestion box" that just digitizes or automates an old busted model—we need Kaizen practices and mindsets, and technology (like ours) can support people and their improvement process.

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Topics: Kaizen

Kaizen: The Japanese Approach to Continuous Improvement

Posted by Morgan Wright

Sep 2, 2021 10:16:00 AM

In the business management context, continuous improvement means a never-ending effort to identify and eliminate the root causes of problems that produce errors or diminish customer value. Most often, it consists of many incremental improvements rather than one drastic change. Continuous improvement is an integral part of Japanese culture, which endeavors to improve on an ongoing basis. In Japan, improvement involves everyone, including management and labor, in finding and eliminating waste in materials, labor, machinery, and production methods.

The Japanese word Kaizen is often used interchangeably with the idea of continuous improvement. The Japanese character kai means change, and the character zen means good. Thus, Kaizen is good change.

Even though Kaizen is a Japanese idea, many companies in the US have implemented it with great success by joining the best of traditional Japanese management practices with the strengths of Western businesses. By combining the benefits of teamwork with the individual's creativity, the best of both worlds results. Kaizen is closely associated with lean manufacturing in the West because continuous improvement combined with just-in-time manufacturing principles form the foundation of lean.

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Topics: Kaizen

Best Practices for Effective Kaizen Management

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 16, 2021 3:34:33 PM

Kaizen management can give your company a significant edge over your competitors. It involves lean operations and continuous improvement, two vital factors to be effective in today’s economy. Another essential component is empowering your team members to participate in finding the opportunity to improve.

Following a kaizen management style involves a shift away from many of the principles of traditional business management models.

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Topics: Kaizen

The Fundamental Principles of Kaizen Project Management

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jun 14, 2021 12:49:13 PM

The continuous improvement methodology of Kaizen was once closely associated with industrial and automotive manufacturing. That’s because the Kaizen philosophy originated in the Japanese auto industry and was then later adopted by technology manufacturers like GE and Motorola.

But if you’ve been hearing about Kaizen project management in other sectors over the last few years, you are not alone.

The principles of Kaizen can lead to continuous improvement in almost every industry. The approach is now widespread in healthcare, construction, software development, education, logistics, and everything in between.

You won’t learn everything about Kaizen in any one blog post, but we can lay out the fundamentals of Kaizen project management.

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership, Improvement Methodology

What is Kanban? A Quick Guide to Visualized Improvement

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 24, 2021 12:27:41 PM

There are dozens of tools and techniques used by organizations to support their continuous improvement efforts. The most successful companies pick a few methodologies that work well for them and execute them consistently. If improvement work slows down or a new challenge arises, they experiment with another technique. Whether you are just getting started with structured improvement or if your practice is mature, you might consider adding a tool known as the Kanban methodology. This post will cover the meaning of Kanban and a few of its key advantages.

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Topics: Kaizen

A Guide to Sustained Improvement with the Kaizen Methodology

Posted by Clint Corley

Apr 27, 2021 1:11:25 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 it along with several other titles that we’ll share at the end of this post. This post provides you with the basics of the Kaizen Methodology and hopefully leaves you wanting to learn more.


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Topics: Kaizen

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

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