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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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14 BPM & Six Sigma Courses You Can Take to Become a Systems Expert

Every business needs optimized processes. We’ve proven that again and again on the Process Street blog.

However, since business process management is taught formally in academies, the available material usually consists of dense technical documents and complex case studies.

When you’re just getting started, it’s easier to absorb information in the form of video than it is to pick through a lengthy paper full of cryptic diagrams.

With that in mind, we decided to collect the best video lectures and interactive courses on everything related to the inner workings of business: scaling, improving consistency, lean operations, Six Sigma, BPMN, process management, and more.

This list has both advanced and introductory courses. So, whether you just want to learn how to improve a process, or you want to dive into the statistical models behind business efficiency, it’s all here.

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The History of Surgical Checklists: How Processes Save Lives

surgical checklists header

We talk a lot about business processes here on Process Street, but today we’re going to do things a little differently. Instead of waxing lyrical about business efficiency, I’m going to show how surgical checklists have evolved over history, and how they continue to save lives today.

From prehistoric humans poking each other with sticks and rocks, to the Ancient Greeks, the discovery of germs and antiseptics, up to modern day medical marvels, surgical procedures make a great case for why documented checklists are vital for continued success.

Not only that, but by looking at how major theoretical and technological breakthroughs have affected surgical checklists, we can better show why documenting and maintaining your processes isn’t as hard as you might think.

Alternatively, if you’re just interested in medical history, stick around for the ride – I’ll be making this interesting for all.

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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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How to Create a Weekly Tasks List (And Never Forget a Deadline Again)

When I started at Process Street, I was just a writer. I had the organizational skills of a child, and I was used to delivering a single piece of work at a time. As I was given more responsibilities, I started forgetting my regular tasks and working on whatever seemed important at that moment.

Since every task management system I’ve tried has quickly become crowded and unmanageable, I decided to create a Process Street checklist specifically for my recurring weekly tasks.

Now, I get a simple list of tasks in my Process Street inbox every week. As I work through them, I can track my weekly progress and use the checklist as a way to report my work to my manager. You can do the same, and it only takes about 10 minutes.

Here’s my checklist:

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17 BPM Statistics to Help You Increase Efficiency in Your Business

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Business process management (BPM for short) gets a bad wrap. Some consider it industry jargon, others an ineffective management “hack”, and almost all see it as boring.

However, there is no better way to increase efficiency and consistency in your business than by managing your processes effectively. To prove it, this post will dive into 17 BPM statistics to show:

  • The growing trend of using BPM software
  • How common (and important) documented processes are
  • The importance and benefits of processes
  • The dangers of not managing processes
  • Why everyone in your company needs to be involved with your processes

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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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Scaling Your Business? Be Sure You Determine Customer Value

The following is a guest post from Sam Suthar, the CMO of Tagove.

Scaling your business is almost impossible until you know your customer’s value. Whether you’re going to scale a brick-and-mortar business or an online business, it doesn’t matter; it’s vitally important to understand what each customer is worth to your business.

Statistics by Unicom Group show that 50% of customers naturally churn every 5 years. Sadly, this number can increase if you fail to understand what the customer who signed up last night is worth.

Can you reduce your churn and increase customer retention rate?

Yes, it’s doable. Although very tricky. In the rest of this article, I will show you how to scale your business by first knowing the value of each customer.

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Rebranding Strategy: How 3 Big Tech Companies Dramatically Changed Their Identity

In 2016, Process Street went from using a basic Bootstrap theme to a custom-branded website, complete with a logo change and full aesthetic overhaul. We did it to avoid looking dated, and to make the site consistent with our app.

Like many startups, we focused on building a great product first, and rightfully overlooked the importance of a brand until the time was right.

A brand is the often low on the list of startup priorities. Startups develop in a fast-paced, cutthroat environment and are concerned primarily with attracting early users as beta testers, building disruptive products, and iterating based on feedback. Tech is a mercurial industry; many companies start out with a solution to a problem that could be adopted by everyone from individuals to large corporations.

Over time, by stabbing in the dark and following growth over all, a tech startup could find itself with a brand that doesn’t match its product. That’s something we grappled with in 2016, and it’s something even big tech companies come up against every couple of years.

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Little’s Law: How to Analyze Your Processes (with Stealth Bombers)

little's law - header 2

Simple as it may be, Little’s law is an incredibly powerful tool in the arsenal of almost any team. From performing back-of-the-napkin calculations to showing the performance of a system over time, this formula is one of the key building blocks to running an efficient business.

Without Little’s law, Lean and Kanban wouldn’t exist, and key elements of America’s nuclear deterrence would be left up to chance.

After all, you can’t fly B-2 stealth bombers into action if they’re all under maintenance due to bad queue management.
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