Adam Henshall – Page 2 – Process Street

All posts by Adam Henshall

Are You Poka-Yoke Woke? Stop Mistakes With This Error Prevention Method (10 Examples)

poka yoke headerWhat’s better than fixing something when it’s broken?

Stopping it from breaking in the first place.

This article is going to focus on how you can put certain steps in place to catch problems before they arise.

This technique is called poka yoke and was born out of the Toyota Production System. At its core, poka yoke is extremely simple. Any addition to a process which is included to change the behavior of the person operating the process with the intention of reducing mistakes, can be referred to by the concept poka yoke.

In this article we’ll look at:

  • Where poka yoke came from
  • How to implement poka yoke
  • Successful examples of poka yoke in action

If you want your process to be the very best then you have to think about error prevention!

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How to Use The Deming Cycle for Continuous Quality Improvement

deming cycle headerUnderstanding quality and seeking to improve it is arguably the core purpose behind undertaking process improvements.

But where did this philosophy of process improvement come from?

One key person is William Edwards Deming – sometimes referred to as Edward W. Deming. He’s principally a statistician, but one could even call him a philosopher of science.

Deming’s goal was to reapply the scientific method to business processes, and has left us with two main variants of his thinking: PDSA and PDCA.

In this article we’ll outline:

  • What the Deming cycle is, with its history
  • How to apply the Deming cycle to improve your business processes
  • The important distinction between PDSA and PDCA
  • How PDSA is employed in the medical field

Deming’s approach is not just about improving processes, but about improving a whole business.

In a recent meta-study from the British Medical Journal, researchers found only 2 out of 73 studies had applied PDSA in a way which fully met criteria. Commenting:

To progress the development of the science of improvement, a greater understanding of the use of improvement methods, including PDSA, is essential to draw reliable conclusions about their effectiveness.

And that’s why we’re writing this article!

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DMAIC: The Complete Guide to Lean Six Sigma in 5 Key Steps

dmaic headerWe all like to know about the broader philosophies behind process improvements, but sometimes we need to knuckle down and look at some of the more technical details.

One of the core techniques behind any process improvement, particularly in Six Sigma, is DMAIC.

This handy approach, pronounced duh-may-ik, is the key to employing Six Sigma and beginning your journey to being a process hero. We’re going to cover each step in the process and detail how to effectively enact every section.

This guide will lead you through from start to finish and get you ready to start employing lean Six Sigma within your business!

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Inside the Recruitment Processes of 3 Tech Giants (and How to Improve Yours!)

recruitment process google facebook spacex headerOne of the key strengths of top companies is the employees inside them.

Who they hire and how they hire them helps determine employee attainment, employee satisfaction, employee accountability, and employee turnover.

Small changes to recruiting processes can have a surprisingly large impact on the day to day life of a company. According to the Glassdoor Economic Research (2015) report, a 10% harder interview process is associated with a 2.6% higher employee satisfaction later on.

Loads of our clients use Process Street for managing their recruitment processes and we know all too well how important it is to get that process right.

That’s why we’re going to explore how 3 top tech giants manage their recruitment and see what gold standard techniques we can pass on to you. We’ll explore:

  • The three stage process Google use to make new hires
  • How Facebook hire Builders not just regular folk
  • What SpaceX do to hire the best of the best

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How Subscriptions Will Stop Fake News Killing Digital Content

stop fake news quality content headerFake news is a hot button issue right now and one we’ve covered a couple of times at Process Street.

Normally, the discussion of fake news is a roundly negative affair.

How do we come back from consistently lowering journalistic standards? What does this mean for society?

In this article, I’m going to put a more positive face on and explain why there’s good reason to believe quality journalism is going to make a comeback – it may have already begun!

  • We’ll look at broadly what fake news is, and why it isn’t a wholly new phenomena.
  • We’ll look at the financial performance of different media outlets and try to understand what economic motivations there are in the industry, plus how that impacts on content.
  • We’ll look at the new wave of journalistic opportunities and what you can do to help!

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How to Smash Your Business Bottlenecks (Plus 3 Key Tools to Help!)

how to smash your business bottlenecksOn October 3rd 2017, the Financial Times reported that Tesla shares had slumped after the business hit a bottleneck in its production.

Tesla shares fell nearly 2 per cent to $335.91 after the Palo Alto-based company said that it produced just 260 of its Model 3 vehicles in the third quarter, well below the target of more than 1,500 that chief executive Elon Musk had predicted for the month of September alone.

What caused that failure to hit the target?

A bottleneck.

A bottleneck is when one process in a chain of processes cannot perform to the standard of those around it, creating a delay which damages the other processes.

No matter how well Tesla creates batteries or programs its self-driving software, if the factory can’t, for example, install tires fast enough then Tesla can only produce cars at the rate it installs tires.

That poor process brings all of production down to its level. Business output becomes defined by its weakest link.

But it’s not just shop floor industrial processes which fall foul of these problems. Any business or set of operations will be faced with this challenge too. In this article, we’ll look at a couple of approaches you can use to attempt to identify and overcome bottlenecks in your business.

  • Flow charts help you visualize current operations
  • The Five Whys technique allows you to identify root causes quickly
  • Toyota’s three concepts for process implementation focus your improvement
  • How Process Street can assist in beating bottlenecks

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The Best Payment Platforms: Stripe vs Paypal vs Square vs Braintree

stripe_vs_paypal_vs_square_vs_braintree best payment platformIn the first quarter of 2017, the AppStore and Playstore saw record revenues yet again with a whopping total of $15 billion worldwide, representing a year over year growth of 45%.

Add in other online sales and the amount of money being spent is astronomical.

But how do we process all these sales? And what means of processing is best for your company?

We’ve pondered the question at Process Street and decided to write up our findings. In this article, we’ll compare Stripe, Paypal, Square, and Braintree to see what each do and how they do it. We’ll analyze those findings and suggest which might be better for different kinds of businesses.

The key areas we’ll compare are:

  • Features – what do they offer and what can’t they do?
  • Pricing – where can we find those small gains which make a difference at scale?
  • Ease of use – can a regular person integrate it into their business, or is a developer needed?

But first, let’s look at some of the different use cases for these payment platforms to contextualize our investigation.

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How to Analyze an Article: Don’t get Fooled by Terrible Advice

how to analyze and article don't get fooled by terrible advice headerThere’s a lot of advice on the internet. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible, and some sits in the gray area between.

Within the fields of tech and startups, a lot of what people do day to day is influenced by what they’ve learned online; I doubt many people reading this article learned in school how to effectively market a product over Instagram!

Sorting the good from the bad is a challenge we all face, and one we have to become better at as individuals and as a society.

Improving our ability to analyze information doesn’t just mean identifying fake news, though we will look briefly at it. It also means being able to take a second look at informative journalism and the reporting of research; the kind of information which you might use to inform big business decisions. We’ll look at:

  • The importance of recognizing the gray area in complex issues and reviewing the source text.
  • How media reporting of studies can often obscure the real points
  • Why certain models of investigation can have inherent flaws, and why you should be wary of that.

At the end I’ll follow up with the 10 step process you can use to improve your analysis. This process is pulled from the recommendations of Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and Michael Shermer, and repurposed for your professional needs.

But first, let me tell you a little story…

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How 4 Top Startups are Reinventing Organizational Structure

organizational structure headerWhen a city doubles in size, the productivity per person increases by 15%. When a company doubles in size, the opposite happens.

Companies like Zappos see this as a fundamental problem to solve. For them, the root lies in organizational structure.

With the opportunity to be dispersed remotely and to build complex products without factories and production lines, the tech industry is particularly able to pursue innovative approaches to structure, management, and organization.

Increased self-management, remote working, and task forces instead of departments, are all emerging trends which lend themselves to growing businesses.

Elon Musk talks about his businesses innovating the production process as much as the product. Mark Zuckerberg describes Facebook’s structures and organization as its biggest asset.

Ethan Bernstein, Assistant Professor of Leadership in Organizational Behavior at Harvard Business School, adds:

…[O]rganizations who are increasingly thinking about structure as an advantage and a form of making their employees more productive, will continue to evolve and innovate in this direction. And that’s something I think we’ll see across all organizations, regardless of whether they are trying to deliver “wow” to customers, or trying to do something very different.

So what are the competing philosophies which are driving these trends within the industry? Which companies have implemented the most extreme reorganizations and how have they dealt with the changes?

In this article we’ll look at:

  • Zappos: How they implemented Holacracy, with a why and how explanation.
  • Buffer: The steps they took to prioritize the individual within the company over management structures, with the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned.
  • Zapier: How they reflect these general shifts and why they chose not to dive in to extreme organizational innovation.
  • Basecamp: The marriage of many competing philosophies documented through their company handbook.
  • Process Street: The tool which helps you build the machine which builds the machine.

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How Toyota Saved Children’s Lives with Process Implementation

process implementation toyota headerWhat connects a 75% drop in infection rates, a 48% increase in home rebuilding speeds, and an extra 400 hungry families receiving the supplies they need to get by?

Have you guessed yet?

That’s right. Effective process analysis and implementation. Specifically, the Toyota Production System process analysis and implementation.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the heartwarming success stories of process implementation carried out by the Toyota team.

The human side of organizational systems demonstrate the importance and effectiveness of learning and understanding how to create continuous improvement in your processes.

Throughout these examples we’ll see a number of key Toyota concepts employed and how they worked in practice:

  • genchi genbutu – to “go and see”, to embed yourself in the system and observe,
  • kaizen – to employ ideas of continual improvement, making small iterative changes,
  • muda – to identify waste, and to recognize that what constitutes waste is contingent on your situation.

From disaster relief to pediatric hospitals, the benefits of strong process analysis are clear for all to see.

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