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KaiNexus Blog

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Kaizen Event Planning in 7 Simple Steps

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Oct 18, 2017 7:59:00 AM

Here at KaiNexus, we get the opportunity to chat with clients and write about many different continuous improvement tools and techniques. Lately, I’ve been thinking about two things that most of them have in common.

First, they are generally simple, but not easy.

And second, the key to success lies in the planning phase.

Both of these observations apply to Kaizen events. The concept is straightforward. A team sets aside other responsibilities for a few days to focus on solving an important challenge in short order. That’s pretty simple, but getting results requires a significant amount of planning and preparation

Fortunately, there is a well-defined path to success.

Here are the seven simple steps to follow before you kick off your next event.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology

7 Unexpected Benefits of Kaizen Events

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 14, 2017 10:50:53 AM

Leaders typically deploy Kaizen events when there is a difficult or urgent challenge that needs to be addressed in short order. The obvious benefit of this rapid approach to improvement is that the target process or problem gets solved. That’s awesome, but in most cases, there are many improvement tools that could be deployed to address a known issue. We’re big fans of most of them, but in our experience, Kaizen events have some unique advantages that shouldn’t be ignored when comparing them to your other options.

In addition to a problem solved, Kaizen events can result in:

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology

8 Important Questions about Kaizen Events, Answered

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 17, 2017 10:22:11 AM

Kaizen events are an effective way to implement changes quickly. They are also a great way to get team members involved in improvement and to foster cross-functional collaboration. When we chat with people who are relatively new to structured continuous quality improvement, they often have questions about Kaizen events.

Here are answers to the ones we hear most frequently.

What is Kaizen?

This may seem like a strange question for someone considering doing a Kaizen event, but it is surprising how often the technique is introduced without the necessary context. Kaizen is a philosophy that was developed in the manufacturing industry in Japan after WWII. The term is translated as “positive change.” It is the idea that continuous improvement is both necessary and possible. It focuses on respect for people and the belief that even small improvements can have a big impact.

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Topics: Kaizen

Some Recent Kaizen Event FAQs, Answered

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 14, 2017 7:42:00 AM

The beginning of summer must be a good time for Kaizen events because we’ve been getting a lot of questions about them lately. We thought we’d take a few minutes to answer the ones we hear most often. (If you are entirely new to Kaizen events, check out this page.)

 

Is a Kaizen event the same as a rapid improvement event?

Yep! The technique of deploying a team to be 100% focused on an improvement target for a short period of time goes by a bunch of names. You may also hear it called a Kaizen or improvement blitz.

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Topics: Kaizen

How to Select the Best Kaizen Software Solution

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 15, 2017 7:00:00 AM

If you are like most people, you don’t buy technology to support Kaizen every day, even though you know that you should be implementing something more strategic and robust than spreadsheets and paper boards. Most people who come to us have never faced the challenge of evaluating solutions and choosing a vendor themselves, so don’t feel alone if you are in that boat. It's not as hard as it seems at first blush!

The good news is that there are some easy ways to sort out which solutions you should seriously consider.

Here’s a primer on what to look for.

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Topics: Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

An Introduction to Kaizen Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 8, 2017 7:19:00 AM

The practice of Kaizen along with the Six Sigma and Lean business process methodologies has been widespread in manufacturing for decades.

More recently other sectors have realized that the practices and principles of Kaizen can accelerate improvement in almost any organization.

Like manufacturers, leaders in every industry from construction to higher education are leveraging Kaizen software to support and perfect their efforts to execute on more opportunities for improvement.

For those who are not yet familiar with Kaizen software, we’ve put together this broad introduction.

 

What is Kaizen Software?

Kaizen software is technology designed to help organizations complete more improvements, track the results of improvement work, and maintain a historical record of every project. Modern solutions are typically cloud-based, accessed via the Internet, and available on mobile devices. Users simply log-in and gain access to the platform.

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Important features include:

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Topics: Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Idea Boards: The Case for Change

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 30, 2017 7:12:00 AM

Behind every improvement technique and tool there is a winning spirit. There is no downside to the ideas that processes can always be made better and that positive change is everyone’s business.  But today we’re going to focus on one common improvement tool, the idea board, and make the case that there’s a better way. After all, why wouldn’t the force of Kaizen be applied to improvement itself?

The Intention of Idea Boards

Let us begin by saying that there is a lot we love about idea boards. Whether they are just a simple space where notes with employee ideas are randomly affixed or a more organized board with status indicators or categories, there are a few things they get right.

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Anyone can contribute.

Idea boards are very democratic, giving everyone the opportunity to make suggestions within and beyond the scope of their every day jobs. Does a customer service representative have an idea about how to improve safety in the office? Great! They can share it on the idea board for the facilities team to see. The best ideas can come from anywhere, and there’s a good chance that people already have a notion of how to handle your toughest challenges, so bring it on.

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Topics: Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Make Your Next Kaizen Event a Slam Dunk

Posted by Clint Corley

Mar 27, 2017 7:16:00 AM

March madness is in full swing, and we’re not going to lie. We’ve got basketball on the brain. The level of talent and dedication that players display even when they don’t win the game is truly inspiring. As spectators, we see the game. What we don’t see are the countless hours of practice, the sacrifice, the workouts, the strategy sessions, and all of the other hard work that goes into competing at this level. We’re impressed.

A Kaizen event is a bit like a basketball game. In order to win in basketball, there are some things you need to do during the game, but also a bunch of stuff that needs to happen off the court. The same is true for completing a successful Kaizen event. You must strive for great execution while the event is in progress, but much of the work happens before it begins and after it ends. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind if you want your next event to be as easy as an uncontested layup.

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Learn the Fundamentals

Some ball players are born with a ton of talent, but even they need to learn the basic fundamentals of the game. Your team may be very good at problem-solving, but if they have never participated in a Kaizen event, or if it has been a while, it is important to provide training and open communication. They should understand why Kaizen events are used, how they are structured, and what to expect before, during, and after.

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Topics: Kaizen

How to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Kaizen Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Mar 22, 2017 11:07:36 AM

Selling up can be tough. If you believe that your organization could benefit from Kaizen software, but your boss (or whoever has to approve the investment) hasn’t quite arrived at that conclusion, you are in a frustrating spot. We’d like to help. We spend a lot of time talking to customers about where they find the most value in Kaizen software and they’ve made a pretty compelling case for applying a technology solution to the challenge of improvement. Here’s what they’ve told us about how they have benefited.

Maybe one or more of these reasons will push your team over the tipping point.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

The World’s Saddest Kaizen Board?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 24, 2017 8:11:00 AM


A friend who knows that I am interested in continuous improvement techniques of all sorts was visiting a relative in the ER in a California hospital. She sent me this photo. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you probably know why this upset me, but I think it is worth listing the reasons it made me cringe.

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Topics: Kaizen