Management – Process Street

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What is a Business Process Consultant? (And How To Find a Good One)

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What do you do if you don’t have the time or know-how to document and improve your processes?

You hire a business process consultant of course!

While we’ve talked endlessly in the past about why processes are important and how to manage your own, hiring a business process consultant lets you reap all the benefits without having to spend an age assessing your organization and talking to every last employee involved.

So, if you want to organize your processes and bring efficiency to your business but don’t have time to do it yourself, read on!

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How Does a Hedge Fund Work? Inside the Processes at Bridgewater Associates

How Does a Hedge Fund Work_ Inside the Processes at Bridgewater Associates-04Processes can be used to optimize the things you do every day, and we spend most of our time telling you that!

But where do these processes come from? Really.

Maybe you just documented your steps one day and built from there? In which case, the process evolved naturally from the actions you took intuitively. When I add big words into that description I can make it sound like a good thing. But it could be put another way.

You never took the time to think about the foundations of your process.

At the very base of all processes are a series of said and unsaid principles. In good processes and bad processes. If we want the best processes we can make, we need to understand and critically evaluate the principles which knowingly or unknowingly guide our every decision.

Ray Dalio’s text, Principles, answers the question “how does a hedge fund work?” and gives us an insight into how he built the world’s largest one, Bridgewater Associates.

Bridgewater manages $160 billion worth of assets for 350 different clients. These clients range from large corporate bodies like McDonald’s to pension and wealth funds, and even to the assets of central banks. The whole company has been built around cultivating a radical company culture, and it is this radical company culture which makes Bridgewater Associates so successful and worth investigating!

In this Process Street article, we’re going to present to you a number of the ideas contained within the book and we’re going to pull out three specific company processes Dalio has developed on the back of these principles:

But be warned: it’s likely a radical break from your office!

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How One Piece Flow Can Reduce Your Operations Time by 96%

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We’ve all heard about the importance of focusing on one task at a time.

Take that idea, apply it to manufacturing, and you have the concept of one piece flow.

The concept is simple in that you have to limit yourself to working on one item at a time (you only ever have one WIP item). By doing this you can save time and money, as work is performed faster and any space you use is highly optimized.

In fact, it’s the very same concept that Toyota used to reduce the time taken to pack boxes in to help families hit by Hurricane Sandy by 94%.  In total, the aid workers were able to feed 400 more families in less than half the time.

However, there are a few vital things that you need to be careful of when applying one piece (or “continuous”) flow. It’s not a miracle cure, and while it can be used outside of an assembly line, there are a few practical elements which can’t be ignored.

So, today I’ll be diving into:

  • What one piece flow is
  • The advantages and disadvantages
  • How to implement it
  • Using one piece flow in any area of your business
  • The problems of theory vs practical effects

Let’s get started.

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How to Start a Lean Process for Continuous Company Learning

The following is a guest post from Pascal van Opzeeland. Pascal is CMO of Userlike, software for website and messaging support. He and his team share tips about customer service and communication on the Userlike Blog.

In school, everyone looks forward to the day they can stop learning and start doing. But once inside hamster wheel of working life, many long back to the times in which they had the time to invest in their personal development.

At Userlike, we see this lack of time for personal learning as a serious challenge. The world is developing faster than ever, and the pace is only accelerating. To stay competitive, we need employees to keep up; to keep learning and stay up-to-date with their craft. Other benefits from  having a culture that stimulates continuous learning include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Attract and retain talent
  • The ability to grow leaders in-house and reward loyalty

The best employees have an innate desire to grow, but it’s hard to free up time when your daily tasks and duties mess up your schedule. Learning is one of those high importance – low urgency tasks that easily gets pushed aside.

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How to Get, Process, and Act on Employee Feedback

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Saying “employee feedback” conjures images of awkward conversations with managers and meaningless buzzwords during performance reviews, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Feedback cycles shouldn’t try to force comments out of your team, but instead support them and let them know when and where they can raise any issues they encounter.

Doing this lets you see the flaws in your business and figure out how to take action in order to improve it for everyone involved.

It’s also a great way to get a second opinion on issue that you have lost all context on. Veteran and new employee alike offer vital second opinions and can really help to highlight where your processes are weakest, and that’s not even mentioning other benefits such as helping to make your employees feel valued.

69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were being better recognized” – Lindsay Kolowich11 Eye-Opening Statistics on the Importance of Employee Feedback

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

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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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12 HR Management Tips to Run an Effective Business (and Prevent Total Chaos)

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Effective human resources management prevents company-wide anarchy.

From solving internal disputes, to presenting a united front to customers, to just plain abiding by the law, HR is a vital discipline which is all too often generalized and pushed out of mind.

That’s why today I’ll be going through 12 HR management tips to help you keep your employees engaged and your company running smoothly. From the utter basics such as being open to hearing feedback on techniques like using social media to grow your network, keep reading to learn everything you need to know to avoid being another Michael Scott.

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The 17 Best Apps for Business: A Look at Our Team’s Home Screens

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With today’s fast pace of living, it’s vital to have on-the-go access to everything that’s important to your work.

Rather than staring blankly out of a window on your train or bus to work, you could then instead be planning your day and organizing meetings, or commenting on tasks and sorting through your inbox to avoid getting distracted at the office.

However, with the sheer variety of technology on offer it’s also difficult to know what mobile apps you should be using.

That’s why I asked the Process Street team to share the best mobile apps for business they have installed and how they use them.

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From the most valuable apps across our entire company to one-off niche cases that could do with a little more exposure, in this article I’ll highlight the apps that let our team stay productive and make every moment count.

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14 Law Office Management Tips to Run an Effective (and Legal) Business

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Law office management is one hell of a tightrope to walk.

On one hand, you’ve got the usual duties of managing a team and dealing with clients. On the other, you have the added pressure of a single mistake changing “business as usual” into a $50 million malpractice lawsuit.

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Now, I won’t claim to have expertise in any legal fields, but what I can do is trawl through hours of research to bring you the best law office management tips on offer.

In this post I’ll cover:

  • Document storage methods
  • Using cloud software (whether it’s appropriate, the benefits, and the risks)
  • Onboarding employees
  • How you can delegate work
  • Onboarding clients
  • How to arrange and conduct effective meetings with clients and employees
  • Security management methods
  • And more…

Read on to find out how you can improve your law practice in terms of efficiency, security, and productivity.
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