Live Virtual Online Lean Experiences with the Kaas Pass

By Jon Miller Updated on August 9th, 2021

Kaas Tailored has been on their continuous improvement journey for over twenty years. For the past ten years, they have been generous in sharing both the successes and struggles of their journey. More than forty thousand people have walked through their doors, had their eyes opened, and hearts inspired. We at Gemba Academy have featured Kaas’ progress through several podcasts as well as videos.

For most of this time, Kaas guided visitors through their operations and answered questions free of charge. It was part of their mission to give back to the community by helping other organizations build stronger, more adaptive, and people-respecting cultures. As a natural consequence of the growing demand for their tours and workshops, Kaas expanded to paid events, consulting, and a variety of learning experiences.

Introducing the Kaas Pass

As the travel restrictions of the past year made it harder for visitors to join these tours in person, Kaas began experimenting with offering virtual tours. In July 2021, they launched Kaas Pass, an unlimited annual subscription to all of Kaas Tailored’s live online virtual experiences. These include the Waste Tour, Q&R Session, and Special Events. I’ve been on several Waste Tours myself, but never on a virtual one. The convenience aspect is quite alluring. I’m curious to see how these compare to being there in person.

Live Virtual Waste Tours

The Waste Tour is a four-hour introduction to how Kaas has made continuous improvement a sustainable part of their culture. These are scheduled every other week throughout the year. During the first half of each tour, participants observe the Daily Management System and its supporting routines at Kaas. The format of the second half will feature a rotating cast from the Office of GM, the Design and Development team, the Build and Deliver team, and the Integration. In other words, visitors will have a chance to see the parts of the business most interesting or relevant to them, as the Waste Tours rotate through Kaas’ unique organizational structure.

Q&R Sessions, Special Events

The monthly Q&R sessions will be open forums for Kaas Pass subscribers to ask any tough questions they may have. Kaas team members will provide a response based on their experiences in building and running their management system. The idea is that a response may not be a definitive answer, but invites the learner to reflect on the question further.

There will also be special events for deep dives into a topic. These may include continuous improvement methods, elements of the management system, ongoing projects at Kaas, and other topics of interest to participants. Popular examples include the daily management, kaizen, Toyota Kata, or how one-piece flow applies to transactional processes such as order entry. Special events are designed to reveal the inner workings of the process, how Kaas developed it, and what challenges still remain.

What Can I Learn Using My Kaas Pass?

Kaas Pass members may login and participate in as many of these tours, Q&R sessions, and events as they wish during the year. While there are some set routes and highlights in these tours and experiences, the needs of the learner often shape the discussion.

“We’re improving these each time, based on feedback and comments from participants. We’ve learned so much from the things visitors ask and point out to us. It’s been a real blessing,” says Jeff Kaas.

The virtual tour format will allow for larger group sizes than physical tours. Jeff anticipates that this will help expand and grow the learner community faster, allowing members to create connections and learn from each other. Just as in-person tours have breakout sessions, the virtual sessions will have multiple breakout rooms for discussion, reflection, and sharing in smaller groups.

I’m very excited to join this forum to learn from beginners and more advanced practitioners as far as what’s working, what others are struggling with, as well as innovative approaches to taking continuous improvement culture to new environments. Maybe I will see you on a Kaas virtual tour.

Have something to say?

Leave your comment and let's talk!

Start your Lean & Six Sigma training today.