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Continuous Improvement at Four Seasons Produce

 

 

A common misconception about continuous improvement is that it only applies to the manufacturing sector. While that is where its roots lie, continuous improvement actually helps organizations in every industry - from healthcare and construction to architecture and transportation.

Four Seasons Produce, a leading wholesale distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables that services organic stores, co-ops, juice bars, and other produce buyers in the mid-Atlantic region, is a great example of this. Four Seasons began its continuous improvement journey in 2012 with basic process improvement and Six Sigma. Since then, their focus has shifted a bit, with a greater emphasis on engaging associates in daily continuous improvement. In a recent interview, Continuous Improvement Manager Erin Edwards said that "We are early in our journey, and we have taken a 'take it as it comes' approach. We're learning as we go, and we are flexible in adapting what continuous improvement means to us." 

This is an excellent assessment. They're three years into their continuous improvement journey, and they acknowledge that there's a long way left to go. They understand that continuous improvement is a journey, and that a successful organization continually adapts their improvement process. That's a very healthy attitude to have toward such a culture change.

Also significant in this interview is the way Erin talks about the role of leaders in the organization. She says the company believes that "As associates are encountering issues, it's our job as leaders to remove those obstacles." Four Seasons places a heavy emphasis on empowering employees to identify and implement opportunities for improvement, and that it's the role of leaders to support them in improvement.

 

How does KaiNexus help Four Seasons?

 

  1. KaiNexus enables the organization to document the ideas from their associates and managers that come from one-on-one conversations and gemba walks - something that couldn't be done prior to KaiNexus.
  2. All of the ideas are stored in a single place, making it easier to find them, share them, and give the right people the recognition for them. 
  3. KaiNexus facilitates collaboration between departments and across shifts.
  4. Leaders can focus more on the associates and the ideas they have, and less on administrative tasks.

Watch Erin's video to hear the story of Four Season's continuous improvement journey, learn how KaiNexus has helped, and get some specific examples of impactful improvements they've implemented.

 

Four Seasons Produce on the KaiNexus Webinar Series:

 

Turning Continuous Improvement and Your PMO into an Innovation Team

Watch Now

 

Edwards_Webinar_Big.pngIn this webinar, you will learn:

  • How communication breaks down silos and to create a cross functional effort for continuous improvement
  • The value of communication when it comes to educating vs. cheerleading
  • How to leverage PMO and CI efforts for key strategic projects
  • Get a snapshot of a new innovation team model that merges the best elements of CI and a PMO

Originally Aired: September 20 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT
Length: 1 hour
Hosted By: Mark Graban and Erin Edwards