Frequently Asked Questions
As the KaiNexus team has talked with many organizations, in different industries, across North America and in Europe, we have discovered a number of Frequently Asked Questions about KaiNexus.
Is KaiNexus just an electronic suggestion box?
No. KaiNexus is a platform for managing quality improvement. It is based on Lean and “kaizen” (continuous improvement) concepts that apply to any industry. In fact, we don’t call entries in KaiNexus suggestions or ideas, we call them Opportunities for Improvement. We do this because the starting point might not be an idea or a suggestion at all; it may be a simple observation, a “pain” point, identification of an error or near miss, or even reporting a bad outcome with no apparent error.
There are plenty of idea management software systems out there. They are often centered on finding a very small number of million-dollar ideas, and are not built specifically to help an organization obtain a culture of continuous improvement. If you are an organization that is trying to run a kaizen program and/or implement a Lean culture, then using an idea management tool will likely not meet your needs or be as well suited as KaiNexus.
We use Kaizen Events and larger-scoped projects, not just daily improvement. Will KaiNexus support our efforts?
KaiNexus has modules and features to support common organization-wide Lean efforts such as its Kaizen Event and Project module. It allows organizations that use Kaizen Events to manage the communication and improvements efforts in an organized manner. You can use KaiNexus to identify the sponsor, facilitator, leaders and participants in an Event. Files related to the Event are all kept in one centralized place. The metrics section for each specific Event allows easy visualization of the outcomes and results, including time and cost savings. Just like Events, longer-term Kaizen projects can also be easily managed in the system. It’s easy to build a virtual team and task lists to allow collaboration at an unparalleled level.
Do I need to be an expert in Lean and/or Kaizen to use KaiNexus?
Absolutely not. First off, we have built a great education module that helps educate you and your staff. Secondly, check out the resources section of our web site
where there is a link to Mark Graban’s blog
and some books we highly recommend
. Thirdly, the improvement journey is a long one; everyone must start somewhere. Finally, if your organization is really serious about implementing a continuous improvement culture, we recommend you look at our partners page. All of our partners are highly regarded in the lean/kaizen health care world and offer consulting and training services that provide a deeper understanding of improvement methodologies.
What is the ROI on KaiNexus?
Kaizen-style improvement programs, such as those facilitated by the KaiNexus technology platform, offer a very compelling ROI. KaiNexus can facilitate measureable “hard” cost savings that flow immediately to your bottom line in terms of lower cost and higher revenue. KaiNexus also helps enable your entire organization to quickly implement improvements in quality, safety, time, staff satisfaction and patient/customer satisfaction.
In early healthcare customers, our data suggests that a typical installation in one department (~300 users) could lead to an ROI of more than10:1, whereas a full medical center (~10k users) could experience an ROI of 29:1. This does not include the indirect financial impact of improvements to quality, patient and staff safety, patient and staff satisfaction, or improved training and communication. A white paper on ROI can be seen here.
We anticipate similar results with our first customers in other industries.
What industries are KaiNexus suited for?
While KaiNexus was initially developed for healthcare settings, our technology and the supported improvement methodologies can apply to any industry. Our latest version is industry agnostic and customizable to any industry.
Can I use KaiNexus in languages other than English?
Our current software, with English menus, allows people to enter OIs and related information in any language. Based on input from prospective customers in other countries, the KaiNexus development team is currently completing a large-scale project that allows our platform to be easily translated into many languages. Some of our first efforts are in partnership with a Dutch firm, NextChange
, who will be providing KaiNexus, in Dutch
, to organizations in The Netherlands and Belgium. If you are interested in using KaiNexus in other languages, please contact us
Can we use KaiNexus on mobile devices, such as iPhone, BlackBerry or iPad and other tablets?
We are excited to report that we have an iOS app
that runs on both the iPhone and iPad. It allows a person to submit an Opportunity for Improvement right from their phone. They can even attach a picture to it and they can dictate right into KaiNexus Mobile
if their iPhone supports it. The core KaiNexus web application currently runs on most Android tablets. We recommend the 10” tablets and our recent user interface redesign kept this screen size in mind. KaiNexus can be run on the iPad with the use of the “Puffin” browser (free version
), as it allows Flash-based programs to run on the iPad or other iOS devices.
In our Lean management approach, we want the managers out of their offices more. Won’t KaiNexus decrease face-to-face communication about improvement work?
We firmly believe culture is not defined by technology but, rather, people define culture. We think of KaiNexus as supporting current improvement work, as opposed to replacing or fundamentally changing it. With KaiNexus, there now is a way to manage this effort in a transparent manner, so that everyone is included in the process.
As mentioned above, our mobile applications provide an easy way for leaders and managers to have KaiNexus in their hands while out in the workplace. We have also begun design efforts on a KaiNexus display portal that could be viewed on a plasma or LCD screen in the workplace. As fire restrictions are causing paper-based bulletin boards to be taken down, a highly-visible electronic approach would solve this problem, becoming a focal point for team huddles.
If my organization is already doing work to with High Reliability Organization (HRO) or Crew Resource Management (CRM) training, do we also need KaiNexus?
We don’t view this as an either/or question. In fact, many of our customers use KaiNexus to support their HRO or CRM work, which is, conceptually, very compatible with Lean. Healthcare faces many different challenges and the needed solutions will come from many different sources. So, while KaiNexus finds its origins in Lean methodologies, KaiNexus has become a place to manage and collaborate on improvement work of all types.
We already have a paper system and don’t want to stop using that. Can we just use KaiNexus to enter completed efforts so the rest of the organization knows what we did?
Absolutely. If your organization already has an effective paper system that is used to collect, evaluate, and implement improvement work, then KaiNexus can be used just to log completed improvement efforts. KaiNexus can be used simply and effectively to log, report, and disseminate the improvement work after implementation.
Is your education content all you need to know about kaizen and Lean?
Our education module is a great primer and may be all that the majority of your staff need. We believe middle and upper management and the executive level will need a far more in-depth understanding of the philosophies and methodologies required to effectively manage improvement. Continuous improvement is as much a culture as a set of tools. As mentioned above, we recommend checking out the Resources
section of the web site, where you can find books
, as well as our page with information about our consulting partners
Our IT department could build an internal system or has already built a simple system. Why do we need KaiNexus?
The short answer is that, for a fraction of the price, your organization can start off with a proven and feature-rich program that will only continue to get better – KaiNexus. A number of organizations have built homegrown systems to aid in kaizen programs. That is actually the origin of KaiNexus, which was originally built internally at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The estimated cost of a basic system with far less functionality can be in the $25,000 to $50,000 range. This development time frame can be from 6 to 12 months. This does not include any future development.
There are other organizations that a have pieced together basic systems with tools like SharePoint in an attempt to decrease the cost and the time needed to be up and running. We have learned that the development time was still in the 3 to 6 month range and it was very difficult without having dedicated SharePoint programs on staff. Also, most organizations or companies are not set up to develop software. At KaiNexus, we have built the perfect core team of professionals to tackle this problem.
We already use bulletin boards to manage kaizen. Does KaiNexus have something to replace these?
We are currently developing a module that will be designed for viewing on large screens that provides information on the status of current improvement efforts. This will act almost like an electronic version of the bulletin boards that some organizations use. KaiNexus, being an electronic solution, has the additional benefit of visibility beyond just the department that has the physical board.
We have a ton of improvement projects that we have already done that we want to put into KaiNexus. Is there a way to get them in KaiNexus?
KaiNexus has the ability to enter improvement efforts that are currently being worked on as well as ones that have already been completed. If you have them currently stored in a spreadsheet or database, we can work with you on customized solutions to get legacy data into KaiNexus.
I have 5,000 staff who will be using KaiNexus. How do I set them all up to use KaiNexus?
We have built an awesome import tool that can take a spreadsheet with your users’ information and import it into KaiNexus. We also have an easy Admin Portal where KaiNexus can be customized to your organization, and staff can be quickly added and removed. If there is another batch of people to add at any time, we will be more than happy to assist you with the import tool.