All posts in Manufacturing


How to Conduct a Safety Inspection (With Over 40 Free Checklists)

safety inspectionThe humble safety inspector is one of the forgotten heroes of our modern age.

I know, I know, you get it all the time. People must be buying you drinks non-stop.

In the UK, for instance, there has been an 84% decrease in the number of fatal injuries by employees at work.

In 1974, Britain saw almost 700 people die at work. Now only around 100 die each year at work. That’s about 600 fewer deaths.

Map that back to 1974 and account for a fairly consistent downward trend and we can determine that about 13,500 people didn’t die thanks to improved workplace safety. And that’s just the UK!

safety inspection fatal injuries to employees
Source

Those lives are on you, safety inspectors.

To show our appreciation, we’re providing a whole bunch of safety inspection checklists – from the ones you expect to the ones you don’t.

In this Process Street article, we’re gonna cover:

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Kanban vs Scrum: Understanding the Tools for Agile Success

Kanban vs Scrum

You’ll often hear the question: “Which is better? Kanban or Scrum?” or variations of this eternal deathmatch between two of the most well-established agile methodologies.

People are wasting energy fighting over which methodology trumps another. If you’re an agile organization, you should be placing principle above practice.

It makes a lot of sense to ask questions like “why might I want to use Kanban over Scrum?”, or even “Kanban and Scrum” as opposed to “Kanban vs Scrum”. There are a lot of differences between the two, but fundamentally, they are both agile methodologies, and the principle behind why you might want to use both can be in alignment.

You may even find they can work well together, as part of a unified strategy. You need to consider what approach will work best for your team.

My aim with this article is to approach the question of “Kanban vs Scrum” by clearly presenting both approaches in terms of when, how, and why you might choose to use either of them.

I’ll also talk about the capacity for overlapping Kanban and Scrum approaches, and how some additional tools like Process Street can factor into that equation.

Here’s a breakdown of how we’ll approach comparing “Kanban vs Scrum”:

Let’s start with a basic primer on what it means to be agile. Continue Reading

What is Value Chain Analysis? How to Deliver Value & Gain a Competitive Advantage

value chain analysis

How do you stand out against overwhelming competition? You need an edge; a value proposition isn’t enough on its own.

You need to make sure you’re out-competing the competition by keeping costs down and understanding the value you’re delivering to your customer. But how do you continuously improve your value offering while keeping costs down?

Enter the value chain.

A value chain is a model of looking at all of your business processes and figuring out how to gain a competitive advantage by focusing on developing maximum value in your product or service, while keeping your profit margins in the green at the same time.

Originally proposed by Harvard’s Michael Porter in his 1998 book Competitive Advantage, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Where do you start? What’s the process? What kind of tools exist to make the value chain analysis easier?

Well, if you’re looking for a clear, concise introduction to Michael Porter’s Value Chain model, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a breakdown of:

By the end of this article, you should have a firm grasp on the value chain model, with a better idea of how to apply it to your own business. We’ll also investigate how to integrate BPM software like Process Street into the value chain.
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What is Porter’s Five Forces Model? Competitive Position Analysis Explained

porters five forcesHow do you know whether you’re going to be successful or not with a new business or product?

Well, you’ll probably look to pour your heart and soul into it. You’ll work hard to make it the best product or service you can. You’ll endeavor to make each and every customer happy.

And well done to you for that.

But you’re not the only one who impacts on whether your efforts are successful.

It’s no secret that one of the hardest parts of business is the competitive nature of the market.

What your competition looks like, how it’s constructed, and what opportunities their weaknesses provide you, are crucial factors which can determine your success.

This is where you’ll need to do some kind of competitive position analysis.

In this Process Street article, we’ll look at a framework which is designed to help you understand your competition called Porter’s Five Forces. We’ll cover:

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Vendor Management: What It Is and How to Excel at It (Free Templates)

Vendor Management

Learning about vendor management is no easy task.

As soon as you search the words ‘vendor management’ in Google, you’re bombarded with details regarding vendor management systems, rather than information regarding vendor management itself.

And considering that 88% of companies use at least one outside vendor, and 47% more than 10 vendors, vendor management is a topic that, at some point in their careers, many employees will need to understand.

That’s why in this informative, easy-to-understand post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about vendor management – and in layman’s terms.

Specifically, you’ll learn exactly what vendor management is, the benefits of it, and the process of managing vendors successfully. To finish off, I’ll even provide you with (free!) vendor management templates you can jump into and use straight away. Just read through the sections below:

Now, it’s time to get a solid grasp on vendor management.

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How to Implement Effective Inventory Management Procedures

Inventory Management Procedures

This is a guest post by Marla DiCarlo, an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell a company so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.

Inventory management.

The mere mention of it may strike fear into the hearts of those working in the manufacturing, ecommerce, or logistics sectors as, after all, it can be rather complicated.

But with the right high-value processes, procedures, and techniques in place, inventory management can be turned from a fear-inducing activity into one which helps your business to truly thrive.

That’s why in this short, informative post, we’ll take a look several inventory management best practices, so you can help your business be more efficient, productive, and better all-around at managing their inventory. Just read through the following sections:

Now, let’s get started.

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What is CGMP? Current Good Manufacturing Practices and How to Use Them

cgmpIf you’re manufacturing food, drinks, or medicine, you know you have a sea of regulations and standards which you need to hit and adhere to.

You knew that starting out.

But it does leave you with two questions:

  1. What are the regulations and standards that I should adhere to?
  2. How do I get my organization to run in an effective manner so that we consistently adhere?

Lots of companies are very good at asking the first question, but the second sometimes gets overlooked.

This is how we end up with malpractice and lawsuits and all kinds of bad things.

You don’t just have to know what the standards are, or intend to reach those standards, but you have to consistently hit those standards in order to be the successful safe business you want to be.

That’s why in this Process Street article we’ll be looking at:

  • What is CGMP? Current Good Manufacturing Practices explained
  • What are the current Good Manufacturing Practices?
  • What is a Quality Management System and how does it help CGMP?
  • How Process Street can help you build your Quality Management System

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ISO 13485: Basics and How to Get Started (QMS for Medical Devices)

iso 13485 checklist

In today’s business world, owners are constantly grappling with concerns and surmounting obstacles, the least of which is actually staying afloat financially in what can be an unforgiving economy.

However, the struggle to turn a profit pales in comparison to some of the harsher consequences of failing to comply with certain regulatory requirements.

Take HRIS broker Zenefits for example. Failure to comply with several licencing regulations issued by the California Department of Insurance landed them a $7million fine.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg; more severe penalties extend to include government bodies compelling you to dissolve your company, and ultimately the endangerment of the lives and well-being of individuals your organization is servicing.

“On a global scale, we are all being asked to do more with less—and for less. At some point soon, the current internal systems will not be able to hold back the deluge, and companies will be faced with a stark decision—consistently improve or perish” – Erik Myhrberg and Joseph Raciti, Practical Field Guide for ISO 13485

Often, these kinds of requirements take the form of the ISO 13485 standard for medical device manufacturers.

In this article, I’ll break down the ISO 13485 standard, from a basic introduction to suggestions and resources for implementing it in your business or organization.

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5 Free ISO 14001 Checklist Templates for Environmental Management

Implementing an EMS, or any of the ISO 14000 standards used to be a confusing and intimidating process.

What’s more, in the past, companies that wanted to conform to and implement standards for environmental and quality management systems would be faced with the task of building out huge, complex manuals, with lengthy processes for changing how each task and procedure in the business was approached.

The result of this kind of EMS implementation would often be a huge, labyrinthine system of paper forms; slow to implement, difficult to navigate, and a nightmare update in tandem with real, changing business needs.

However, things changed with the recent ISO 2015 updates.

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ISO 26000 for Corporate Social Responsibility: How to Get Started

corporate social responsibility

Organizations, including businesses, do not exist in a vacuum. Every organization is embedded in a wider web of societal, political, and environmental systems, that spans from smaller local networks to expansive and complex global systems.

As IAG puts it:

“Sustainability is neither a program nor an initiative, it’s considered simply good management.”

This statement recognizes the link between an organization and the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the communities in which they operate.

An organization’s relationship to the society and wider environment in which they exist and operate is a key factor in their ability to succeed and thrive. It can also be an insight into their general performance.

ISO 26000 is a set of guiding principles for businesses and organizations to use to steer them in a more socially responsible direction.

In order to better contribute to the health and welfare of their supporting societies and environments, businesses must enforce principles of ethical and transparent behaviour.

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