All posts in Management


Pinch Analysis: Process Improvement Tips From Thermodynamics, Cars, and Cooking

pinch analysis

Pinch analysis is a difficult topic to talk about, as it both has widely applicable techniques which can reduce the need for external resources, but it’s traditionally very complicated and used in a limited business sector.

That’s why today I’ll be breaking down the topic and showing how the principles behind it can be used across any and all disciplines.

You don’t have to be a thermodynamics buff to understand this; it all comes down to analyzing what you have, what by-products your processes create, and whether you can use those by-products to your advantage.

By doing this, traditional pinch analysis is able to typically result in energy savings of 10-35% – that’s a third less energy you need to generate or import to carry out your processes.

Lets’ get stuck in.
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Human Error: How to Prevent Your Team From Self-Sabotaging

human error header

No matter how foolproof you think your operations are, human error will always pose a threat. Heck, it’s already responsible for 52% of security and data breaches, was the root cause of a host of famous tragedies, and can strike at any time.

But what exactly is human error, and how can we limit its effects if it can’t be completely prevented?

To answer that question, we here at Process Street have broken it down for you. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The four types of human error
  • How the different types of human error are caused
  • The single technique to combat each type in your business

It’s time to stop leaving your success open to random chances of failure.

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Project Scope: How to Meet Deadlines and Keep Stakeholders Happy

project scope

Have you ever had a project which never seems to end? One which you either underestimated or kept adding tasks to as you went along?

That’s exactly what setting out your project scope will prevent.

By analyzing the elements of your projects before starting, you can set out the scope of the work in order to prevent extra work getting added (without adjusting the necessary resources) and avoid taking on projects too large for your team to handle.

Not to mention that the principles behind project scope can be applied elsewhere in your business too.

“I call this the Scopi-locks principle.

Don’t make your product too big, because no-one will adopt it. Don’t make your product too small, because it’s not worth adopting. You have to [get it] just right such that it’s worth poor people pulling it into their lives and, when they do, that they get some value out of it.” – Des Traynor (co-founder of Intercom) on product scope

Let’s get stuck right in with project scope by breaking down what it is, what you need to know before creating it, and how to use it in action.

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Takt Time: How Ford Learned to Make WWII Bombers 24x Faster

takt time

The Ford Production System paved the way for most modern lean manufacturing, and the best physical embodiment of it was the Willow Run B-24 bomber production facility in WWII.

After intervention from Ford, Willow Run was able to go from producing one bomber per day to one per hour. That’s 24x their original output.

At the heart of the facility stood the “pacing clock”. This monitored what we now call takt time.

Takt time is the pulse of your operations – the rhythm and rate by which tasks and products are completed. By monitoring and setting guidelines for this single figure, Ford (and company) was able to build a facility which could produce the same as half of the entire German aircraft industry.

That’s why today we’ll be breaking down what takt time is, how to calculate it, and how it can be used in almost any system to reliably track your progress and provide an early warning system for any problems you encounter.

Let’s get started!

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Brand Audit: How to Help Win Over 91% of Your Target Audience

Brand Audit

Branding is a fickle thing.

Even the most consistent brand images can be shaken by a few high profile missteps, but when used correctly it can be a powerful tool for making your product or services instantly recognizable and attractive to your target audience.

To do this, you need to have a regular process for a performing a brand audit.

This will let you build a specific perception of your brand, such as one of an authentic, reliable company. This can have massive benefits too; the Authentic Brands study of 2014 by Cohn and Wolfe surveyed opinions of 12,000 people over 12 markets. They found that brand honesty (along with not letting customers down) was most highly valued with 91% saying it was important in their view of brands.

That’s why this post will take you through what a brand audit is, the elements of audience brand perception, how to measure what they think of you, and how to help shape the brand image that you want to give.

Let’s get started!

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How to Ensure Compliance When 23% of Employees Don’t Understand Their Job

Ensure Compliance with Employees

In a study of 400 businesses in the UK and US, global analyst firm IDC established that 23% of employees don’t understand a core part of their job. Combined with the potential damage that human error can cause, it’s easy to see why it’s important to make sure that your processes are being followed to the letter.

Still, nobody enjoys hearing the term “ensure compliance” when it comes to their team. It’s cold, impersonal, and conjures up images of school students being sent to detention or prisoners under strict watch, and if your team feels the same then their morale will quickly plummet.

Here at Process Street, we’re well versed in the problems with documenting, managing, and deploying your processes. That’s why this post will take care of those compliance problems by giving you some killer tips to make sure your team sticks to their methods without alienating them with harsh policies.

Let’s dive right in!

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How to Build Better Employee Accountability with Processes

According to the American Management Association, one-quarter of workers seem to avoid responsibility on the job on average, and 21% of companies believe that the figure is as high as 30-50%. From these stats, it’s clear that low employee accountability is wasting company money on a massive scale.

At the same time, almost two thirds of employees believe their company does not have a strong culture. The link between these two factors is strong, argues management consultant and author Roger Connors. Connors blends The Wizard of Oz with now-influential writings on employee accountability in a series of best-selling leadership books including The Oz Principle and Change the Culture, Change the Game. In the latter, he says:

“Our experience proves that accountability, done the right way, produces greater transparency and openness, enhanced teamwork and trust, effective communication and dialogue, thorough execution and follow-through, sharper clarity, and a tighter focus on results. Accountability should be the strongest thread that runs through the complex fabric of any organization” — Roger Connors, Change the Culture, Change the Game

To paraphrase Connor, a business’ employee accountability depends on leaders creating a transparent culture where responsibility is clear, transparent, and owned. One way to bring clarity to the way your business operates is to use standardized processes and leverage technology that helps track activity, assign tasks, and facilitate hand-offs.

In this article, we’ll go through the links between processes, accountability and company culture, and give you tips on how to improve your business in those areas. But first, let’s look closely at the ties between accountability and culture.

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How to Tighten Up Your Approval Process and Smash the Bottleneck

approval process headerWhether you’re submitting a draft of an article for review, collating a report for senior management, or presenting a product design, you probably need someone to sign off on your work.

This happens day in day out in organizations all around the world.

Yet, the sign off process can be slow and littered with delays.

Anyone who has worked in software development will know the pain of submitting work for review, only for revisions and changes to drone on and on. The time spent waiting can sometimes be as much as the time spent working.

And this, friends, is bad for business.

Last week I published an article on Muda – waste in production systems – and laid out the different ways poor processes create waste and damage business performance. One of those wastes is referred to as Time on Hand, or waiting.

In this article, we’ll look to cover the most common occurrence of this waste: the approval flow. We’ll look at:

  • What an approval process is
  • What common approval workflows are
  • Best practices for approvals
  • How you can use Process Street to streamline your approvals

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Enterprise Automation: How to Make 100 Employees Feel Like 1,000

enterprise automation

About half of all the activities people are paid to do in the world’s workforce could potentially be automated” – McKinsey Global Institute, Harnessing automation for a future that works

For many, enterprise automation is a complex and scary topic. Many team leaders believe that it takes too much work to set up your automated systems, and a huge number of people are worried that doing so will let robots take over their jobs.

It’s not true.

Those who understand automation for what it is – a powerful tool which lets your team massively increase their value output – quickly find themselves ahead of the curve. Using it lets you quickly and accurately hand off all of your menial tasks so that everyone can focus on more important items.

Here at Process Street, we know how difficult it can be to get started with enterprise automation. That’s why this post will take you through:

  • What automation is
  • What types of business process automation there are
  • Why you should be using it in your enterprise
  • Methods to let you get started with automation

It’s not complex, it’s not scary, and it certainly won’t be putting your team out of a job. If anything, automation is entirely designed around letting people perform their jobs better than ever before.

It’s time to join the newest revolution in enterprise efficiency and accuracy.

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The Power of Asking Simple Marketing Questions

Marketing Questions

“Why didn’t they see this coming?”

I had just learned of yet another company catastrophically failing to understand their audience. Who thought it would be a good idea to host an AMA after your company was involved in one of the biggest financial scandals in modern history?

Then it hit me. Every team makes silly mistakes. It’s all down to forgetting to ask yourself some basic marketing questions.

While this post was originally going to be reviewing Getting Goosebumps by Bryan Adams and Dave Hazlehurst, the examples and theories they pose in that book (which is well worth a read) are perfect for demonstrating how easy it can be to avoid marketing disasters. All you have to do is keep asking these questions to form a coherent strategy with no nasty surprises.

But enough rambling – it’s time to learn how to avoid marketing disasters!
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