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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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How to Design and Use an A3 Management Process Template

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 3, 2021 4:23:43 PM

Whether you’ve read volumes about various business methodologies and the philosophy of continuous improvement or just a few articles, you can’t be blamed if you’ve started to wonder if Toyota developed every improvement technique.

They certainly contributed a lot but, companies like Motorola, General Electric, Nike, and others have enhanced thinking about the power of positive change. In fact, these days companies far outside of the manufacturing sector including those in healthcare, construction, and higher education are finding new ways to inch closer to business process perfection.

However, there is no denying that many of the tools and techniques that businesses of all sorts find useful were developed as part of the Toyota Production System.

The A3 management process is one example.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Three Steps to Applying the A3 Problem-Solving Methodology

Posted by Ryan Rippey

Apr 21, 2021 1:33:07 PM

The A3 problem-solving methodology was first used by Toyota in the 1960s and later embraced by proponents of Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Lean, and other systematic approaches to continuous improvement. "A3" references a European paper size that is about the same size as an American 11-inch by 17-inch tabloid-sized paper. Using the A3 process, teams create a one-page improvement project report. By limiting the report to one page, teams are forced to be concise and thoughtful about including only relevant information needed to solve problems. 

Because our solution supports the A3 technique, and problem-solving and continuous improvement go hand in hand, we are often asked for tips on how to deploy it. Here are three steps to success.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Key Objectives and Activities for Each Step of DMAIC

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Apr 14, 2021 12:12:02 PM

DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) is a data-driven, structured, customer-centric problem-solving methodology. Each phase builds on the last to arrive at practical solutions for challenging problems. Define tells you what to measure. Measure tells you what to analyze. Analyze tells you what to improve. And Improve tells you what to control.

Each phase has particular objectives and is supported by a specific set of activities. Let's take a closer look at them.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma

Real Life Examples of the 7 Wastes of Lean (Plus 1)

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Apr 12, 2021 11:33:36 AM

Ecologists and other environmentally aware people often talk about a goal of "Zero Waste." We think that's an outstanding goal for business as well.

Eliminating waste is at the heart of the Lean business methodology. The purpose of Lean is to spend more of your time creating value for customers by reducing or eliminating everything that does not produce value (AKA the waste). To make it easier to find and eliminate waste in business processes, Lean practitioners identified the "7 Wastes of Lean." Some include an 8th waste, the waste of human potential.

Although the Lean approach originated in manufacturing, it is used in almost every sector. Strikingly the seven wastes are common across industries, including software development, construction, and education.

While some of the wastes are self-explanatory, others are more difficult to recognize. This post aims to help by giving a few examples of each type of waste in various businesses. Hopefully, they will help you think about how waste may be occurring in your processes. Of course, the people who are most likely to find and correct waste are the process operators, so it is a good idea to share these examples with them and provide a way for each employee to submit opportunities for improvement.

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Topics: Lean

The Fundamentals of the Lean Methodology

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 25, 2021 1:39:40 PM

The Lean methodology is an evolution of the Toyota Production System that the Japanese automaker implemented following World War II to improve the efficiency and flexibility of its manufacturing. Two important books, The Machine That Changed the World (1990) by James P. Womack, Daniel Roos, and Daniel T. Jone and Lean Thinking (1996) by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones, outlined the structure and principles for the Lean method.

Although Lean got its start in manufacturing, today it is widely used across the globe in every sector including logistics and distribution, services, retail, healthcare, construction, maintenance, and even higher education.

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Topics: Lean

An Introduction to Process Control Charts

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Feb 4, 2021 12:27:31 PM

Donald J. Wheeler, PhD is a world-renowned expert in continuous improvement. He's worked with W. Edwards Deming and wrote the classic book Understanding Variation. 

Wheeler once wrote and said, "Statistical Process Control is, at its heart, about getting the most from your processes. It is about the continual improvement of processes and outcomes. And it is, first and foremost, a way of thinking... with some tools attached." 

I’d like to thank him for providing the perfect quote for a blog about process control charts because measurement, control, and improvement are exactly what they are designed to enable.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process

The Six Big Losses in Automotive Manufacturing

Posted by JJ Puentes

Jan 19, 2021 10:36:00 AM

In automotive manufacturing, there are several things you can take for granted; unfortunately, some are unwelcome. The Six Big Losses are an uninvited guest in automotive manufacturing plants everywhere. They are the wastes that rob your organization of productivity, opportunity, time, and money, often under the radar.

To counter the Six Big Losses, you have to understand them. Knowing what to look for is crucial when trying to eliminate waste in any form, especially concerning the Six Big Losses. Bringing them into the open early can help limit their ability to impact your process and allow you to reduce or rid yourself of them completely.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process

5 Incredibly Powerful Lean Visual Management Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 14, 2021 11:48:07 AM

Visual management tools surround us. Although they are so ubiquitous, we might not even think about them. When your car is about to run out of gas, a light will alert you to the problem. Your fitness app may even show you how close you are to your daily goal. Your brain can quickly process these visual clues and use the information to make decisions.

The Lean business approach takes advantage of this fact and leverages several powerful tools for management and improvement. You don’t have to be all in on Lean to take advantage of them. Any organization striving for continuous improvement can benefit.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Visual Management

Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Auto Manufacturing Sector

Posted by Taylor Edwards

Nov 17, 2020 12:40:20 PM

As you might guess from the name, a Lean Six Sigma methodology combines Lean manufacturing principles and those of Six Sigma. This approach to production management is popular in the automotive manufacturing industry. Although there are a few areas of caution, the methodology has helped Ford, Caterpillar, General Motors, Goodyear, and many more achieve their quality and value goals.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process

An Introduction to the Lean Concept of Catchball

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 6, 2020 3:25:53 PM

Most of us have memories of playing the game of catch either as children or with our children. I really shouldn’t call it a “game” because there are no winners and losers. There is no defense because everyone is on the same side. One participant tries to deliver the ball to the other in a way that they will be able to grab and return it. The ability to catch and throw a ball is important because it is a foundation for success in many other more complex sports. The Lean idea of catchball involves moving ideas and information from one person or team to another and, much like catch from childhood, it forms the basis for complicated decision making and policy development.

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Topics: Lean

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