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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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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

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

Why is Kaizen Such a Popular Name for Sushi Restaurants?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 29, 2019 7:15:00 AM

The Sacramento area is home to a small chain of sushi restaurants called Mikuni. The downtown location is a favorite of politicians and lobbyists. When they opened up the newest location in Roseville, they gave it a new name, "Mikuni Kaizen." They explained, "The Japanese word "kaizen," which translates to "continuous improvement," truly reflects the concept behind this Mikuni location. While the menu features a host of exquisite sushi rolls made popular at the restaurant's other locations, it is also highlighted by an extensive selection of small plates and tapas-style dishes- each more exciting and compelling than the next."

Of course, seeing this on a recent visit piqued my interest. It isn't common to find continuous improvement related terms out in the wild, so it stuck with me. It turns out that the idea of applying the principles of kaizen to sushi (or vice versa) is not as novel as I thought. A quick Google search revealed that there are lots of sushi restaurants with kaizen in the name.

In addition to Roseville's Mikuni Kaizen, you could enjoy:

  • Kaizen Campbell in Campbell, CA
  • Kaizen Sushi Bar & Grill in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Kaizen Sushi in San Francisco, CA
  • Kaizen Tavern in Alexandria, VA

And those are just the ones that made the first page of Google.

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Topics: Kaizen

What I Learned by Leaving Toyota

Posted by Clint Corley

Nov 19, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Our 2019 KaiNexicon event in Austin was a tremendous success, thanks to all of our fabulous participants and speakers. Lots of valuable information was shared, and long-term connections formed.

The event kicked off with a Keynote from Jess Orr of WestRock Company. This post is a recap of her presentation. We invite you to watch the video as well.

Jess Orr is a continuous improvement manager with over 12 years of experience working in a variety of industries. Her approach has been greatly influenced by the time she spent working directly for Toyota in Georgetown, KY. Jess focuses on equipping and guiding people in the application of improvement principles and practices to elevate the performance of their organizations.

 


Jess shared that she worked for Toyota in Georgetown, Kentucky, for several years. Her experience of working there was utterly transformative, both personally and professionally. Due to some personal circumstances, she had to leave Toyota about four years ago, which was a difficult thing to do. Although it was devastating at the time, in hindsight, Jess believes it is one of the best things that ever happened to her.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, KaiNexus User Conference

Beyond the Problem – Bonus Benefits of Kaizen Events

Posted by Noah Paratore

Oct 21, 2019 2:08:00 PM

Kaizen events, sometimes called rapid improvement events, are an effective way of solving difficult challenges within organizations. A team of stakeholders and subject matter experts takes a few days away from regular order to focus on improving a process. Because the effort is concentrated, root causes can be identified, and potential fixes implemented in short order. The obvious goal of a Kaizen event is to solve the issue at hand, usually defined in a project charter.

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Topics: Kaizen, Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

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

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