The principles of Lean and continuous improvement methodologies originated from manufacturing, but there’s no doubt that they have been applied to other industries quite successfully, such as nuclear energy. The nuclear industry believes that there is no defect or opportunity that is too small to go after, and there’s always room for improvement. This important principle is a cornerstone belief of what many refer to as a High-Reliability Organization or HRO.
Sep 30, 2020 9:00:00 AM
Sep 15, 2020 11:00:00 AM
When people think of structured continuous improvement methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma, they usually associate it with manufacturing. However, these days, financial services firms, under immense pressure to reduce operational costs and improve efficiencies and effectiveness, are embracing formal continuous improvement programs. Many of the most popular methodologies can easily be tailored to the needs of financial services firms. They can also take advantage of the technology leveraged in other sectors to support improvement.
May 13, 2020 5:49:33 PM
Leaders who want to develop a culture of rapid continuous improvement have many tools at their disposal. So many, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep them all in mind when deciding how to execute an opportunity for improvement or to address a difficult challenge. Or course, most organizations don’t use all of them at any one time, but each can be remarkably effective when applied to the right situation.
We put together a list of the most common and useful improvement tools and techniques that you can start implementing today.
Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement
May 12, 2020 8:30:00 AM
Leaders that we speak with get very excited about the idea of creating an improvement engine within their organizations. Who doesn’t want a team of players always looking to edge closer to perfection? Of course, achieving this goal is harder than it sounds.
We’ve found that leaders who struggle to create a culture that thrives on improvement make one or more of ten common mistakes. These challenges are probably not breaking news if you’ve been a leader for a long time, but it can’t hurt to check in with yourself from time to time and make sure you are avoiding these behaviors. If you are a new leader, this is an excellent “don’t” list.
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.
Jul 9, 2019 6:45:00 AM
A little while back, we had the pleasure of presenting a webinar hosted by Chad Westbrook, a manufacturing engineering manager and AGCO production system manager at AGCO Corporation. AGCO is a full line manufacturer of agricultural equipment. The company makes everything, including tractors, tillers, sprayers, bailers, and other equipment. Chad joined our own Mark Graban to discuss a different way of thinking about problem-solving. This post is a recap of the presentation - watch the full thing for all the details!
Presented by Chad Westbrook, AGCO
In this webinar, you'll learn a structured approach to problem-solving using the following tools:
- 5G – A tool used to describe a loss phenomenon
- 5W1H – An approach to the revised phenomenon
- 4M1D – Defining the contributing factors to the revised phenomenon
- 4M1D Confirmation – Validating the contributing factors
- 5 Why’s – Root cause and effective countermeasures
Jun 5, 2019 9:43:57 AM
Dr. Ethan Burris is a Professor of Management and the Chevron Centennial Fellow at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Director of the Center of Leadership Excellence for the McCombs School. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from Cornell University and has served as a Visiting Scholar at Google and Microsoft. He teaches and consults on topics relating to leadership, managing power and politics, leading groups and teams, and negotiations.
Dr. Burris’ current research focuses on understanding 1) the antecedents and consequences of employees speaking up or staying silent in organizations, 2) leadership behaviors, processes and outcomes, and 3) the effective management of conflict generated by multiple interests and perspectives. In particular, he has investigated how leaders shape employees’ decisions whether to speak up or stay silent and how leaders evaluate those who speak up.
We were pleased to have him join us at our annual user conference in Austin last year. This post is a recap of his presentation; we highly recommend that you watch it to learn more about the science behind which ideas for improvement are more likely to get promoted by managers.
Mar 13, 2019 11:19:41 AM
Companies dedicated to the practice of continuous improvement invest a lot of time and resources into training their employees and creating a culture centered around positive change. One way to make this easier and to smooth the path to improvement is to hire people who already have the right mindset.
Bringing up continuous improvement during the initial interview and throughout the hiring process lets the applicant know how important it is to your organization, and helps you weed out people who will be resistant to feedback and change.
If you ask the right questions, you can get a pretty good idea of whether the candidate is likely to be a good fit in your improvement culture and someone that the rest of the team will gladly welcome.
Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement
Jan 14, 2019 10:38:48 AM
We saved this post for a couple of weeks into the New Year to give everyone a chance to get their exercise/weight loss/financial planning resolutions out of the way. Hope it’s all going well - but 98.9% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
Ha, just kidding, I just made that up. But it rings true doesn’t it?!?
Why is changing habits so hard?
Certainly, unrealistic expectations are part of the problem. (You’re not going to lose 57 pounds by Marcia’s wedding in March.) But another part of the problem is that people focus on the “what” far more than the “why” and “how.”
That’s why we are going to focus on exactly why these resolutions will help you achieve your process improvement goals and how you can do it. These are a few simple, achievable, and measurable steps you can take to make 2019 a breakthrough year for continuous improvement.
Nov 1, 2018 8:11:00 AM
Continuous quality management (CQM) does not look the same in every organization. Some practice CQM as part of a business management philosophy like Lean or Six Sigma, while others implement it on its own. There are a bunch of tools and techniques that support CQM such as Gemba Walks, Catchball, and DMAIC that may or may not be used. However, there are some core principles that tie successful continuous quality management organizations together. They form the basis for the approach and are indispensable.
Quality Management is About Process Management
When you break it down, organizations are made up of hundreds, if not thousands of interlocking processes. The quality of the products or services that are delivered to external and internal customers alike is dependent on the quality of those processes. The financial health of the organization is dependent to a large extent on the efficiency of those processes. If you focus on the processes one at a time, you can fundamentally change the game and deal with the challenges facing your organization.
Quality management is not about placing blame on people. W. Edwards Deming believed that the system was responsible for 97% of the problems. The downside to simply blaming a person when quality standards are not met is that it prevents leaders investigating a bit more to find a root cause finding solutions that improve the performance of all the workers. If a worker makes a mistake, it is essential to ask why and find the process conditions that made the error possible.