Here at KaiNexus, we know that mutual respect between leaders, staff, and customers is critical to creating a culture of continuous improvement in an organization. This element of mutual respect drives leaders to engage everyone in their continuous improvement efforts, with the belief that everybody takes pride in doing good work. Lean leaders strive to make continuous improvement part of everyone’s jobs, empowering their staff to improve their work in order to provide the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost, with safety and satisfaction in mind. That's where KaiNexus' Lean software capabilities come into play.
Ask employees to identify problems or Opportunities for Improvement
In any organization, the front line staff are the ones that are closest to the work, and therefore the most likely to identify implementable Opportunities for Improvement.
The struggle often is in finding a successful way to collect those ideas. KaiNexus makes this easy by providing an easy-to-use Lean technology platform to all employees, into which they can submit their Opportunities for Improvement on the fly using computers, iPhones, or email. The system ensures a low barrier to entry of ideas, so that you can harness more of your staff’s creative potential.
Quickly respond to their ideas
It isn’t enough to just ASK for ideas, however; leaders must be prepared to respond quickly to ideas, too.
KaiNexus uses active notifications to let leaders know as soon as Opportunities for Improvement are entered into the system. Leaders are prompted (and reminded again, if necessary) to address those ideas quickly, so that staff know their contributions are recognized and valued. This timely follow up process results in increased engagement in your Lean efforts.
Delegate improvement work back to the employees
Leaders obviously can’t take on the responsibility of implementing every Opportunity for Improvement that their staff identify; there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. It's important for leaders to find a balance between taking action themselves, and delegating to their team.
Using KaiNexus, leaders can easily assign Opportunities for Improvement back to the person who submitted the idea, or to someone else who is a better fit for addressing the idea. That way, the system is used as a productive process improvement system, rather than a dumping ground for complaints.
The people who identify the Opportunities are often the most informed about the situation, and are therefore the best suited for implementing the change with the active support of engaged leaders. The KaiNexus active notifications keep the leader and the rest of the team in the loop about the progress of the Opportunity, while the responsibility of actually implementing the ideas can be dispersed amongst the staff.
Provide recognition for their improvement efforts
When someone takes the time to suggest and implement an Opportunity for Improvement, Lean leaders reciprocate by taking the time to recognize that effort and impact.
KaiNexus helps by recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions with a virtual badge system that emails acknowledgements of achieved milestones and shares their success with everyone else via user profiles. We also make it easy for leaders to see through data and metrics which areas and individuals are high-performing, so that they can provide additional recognition in the offline world in meeting, memos, and handshakes.
KaiNexus supports the key practices and methods that many Lean organizations choose to follow:
Many organizations use formally-structured, team-based, week-long Kaizen Events as a way of demonstrating that improvement is possible. Organziations often continue to conduct Kaizen Events as a way of solving more complex problems over time.
KaiNexus makes Kaizen Events more successful by enabling you to:
Organize and manage your Kaizen Events
Create a database of institutional improvement experience and knowledge
The most successful Lean organizations build upon Kaizen Events to start creating a culture of continuous improvement, using a structured Plan, Do, Study, Adjust (PDSA) process.
KaiNexus was founded upon the need to better manage this improvement process by identifying opportunities improving, acting on them in a collaborative way, resolving and verifying results, and recognizing people for their efforts and results.
Most Lean organizations use the PDSA-based “A3” methodology for problem solving and tracking of projects. Some organizations also use the “Value Stream Mapping” approach to see processes and workflows in a more systemic way, ensuring the best overall performance from a customer perspective.
KaiNexus allows organizations to attach A3s and Value Stream Maps - whether these are scans of hand-drawn documents or links to electronic files in your existing repository - directly to the Opportunity for Improvement in the system. This keeps all of your documentation in a single unified location. KaiNexus has the flexibility to let you improve the way you want to improve, rather than dictating the specific format or method you must use. KaiNexus is the platform to manage all aspects of your A3 and VSM work.
One challenge associated with continuous improvement is the need to communicate changes and improvements to the entire team. When improvement happens, Lean organizations update their standardized work and documentation. They strive to keep everybody on the same page by not just creating new documents, but also ensuring that they are seen and understood.
KaiNexus agrees that a more consistent process and execution leads to more consistent results. That's why we provide customers with a method of structured improvement management that includes active notifications, improvement broadcasting, and standardized reporting and metrics.
Considered a more advanced Lean management practice, strategy deployment (sometimes called “policy deployment” or “hoshin kanri”) is used to create alignment throughout the organization - from top to bottom and across all departments.
KaiNexus supports strategy deployment efforts by:
Allowing organizations to cascade goals and objectives throughout the organization
Letting you see which improvements are affecting your true north objectives
Enabling leaders to issue “challenges” that encourage people to find improvements as needed to support performance objectives (while still identifying and fixing everything else they find during their day).