All posts in Manufacturing


Conquer Process Improvement With These 9 Lean Six Sigma Tools

Conquer Process Improvement With These 9 Lean Six Sigma Tools

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”Peter Drucker

Lean management, Six Sigma, and lean Six Sigma all walk into a bar. Lean management orders a Scotch. Six Sigma orders bourbon. Then lean Six Sigma orders a hot toddy. The bartender says, “So that’ll be a whisky, a whiskey, and a bit of both.”

Are you seriously writing another post about lean Six Sigma?

Yes. Yes, I am.

While you’d be forgiven for thinking that these methodologies are all essentially the same, it is important to remember that they are, indeed, separate. The principle of lean Six Sigma is simple: it combines the waste reduction and workflow efficiency of lean manufacturing with the defect-elimination process of Six Sigma.

To break it down:

  • Lean: A method to reduce or eliminate any activity that doesn’t add value to a process (read more)
  • Six Sigma: A system to create a defect-free process (read more)
  • Lean Six Sigma: The best of both worlds used to eliminate process waste and variation (read more)

Some may say Six Sigma is outdated, or just another example of “business bullshit,” Process Street keeps lauding the benefits for one simple reason: lean Six Sigma works.

From Motorola to Amazon, Fortune 500s have been incorporating Six Sigma practices since the mid-80s. In the early 2000s, Dell, Inc. did the same and by 2004 had saved the company $1.5 billion in costs. In 2020, Dell Technologies reported total revenue of $92 billion and as well as the increasing popularity of their systems.

In this post, I’ll break down Lean Six Sigma into the five corresponding DMAIC process categories, and provide the most relevant tools for each stage. Feel free to jump ahead:

Otherwise, dear reader, let’s begin!
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Logistics & Inventory Management: How To Do it With a “No-Contact” Policy

Inventory Management

This is a guest post by Reese McKnight. Reese is a sales veteran and editor over at JookSMS, a messaging platform for teams and customers. Hailing from Royersford, Pennsylvania, she started out as a sales assistant in local advertising. Her favorite pastime is trying out new cuisines and board games.

Widespread business changes, caused by COVID-19, have affected global trade and supply chains significantly.

Hundreds and thousands of businesses around the world are having to navigate newly implemented no-contact policies for the safety of both themselves and their clients.

What does this mean for logistics & inventory management?

This question, and more, will be answered in this Process Street as we go through the following topics:

Ready?
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Stop Profits Plummeting with a Quality Management Plan

quality management plan

Quality management. Oh, how I love thee.

You’ve given us rubber flavored cookies, phones that go up in smoke, and exploding car airbags (we’ll get to all of that later).

Last year, 337 food products passed through stringent quality management procedures and went to market with major issues. So major, in fact, that each and every one of those products had to be recalled. This cost the US economy over $7 million.

But, the cost of poor quality management surrounding the production of food is only a tiny part of the picture:

Defective product incidents have caused in excess of $2 billion of losses over five years” – Allianz, Product Recall, Managing the Impact of the New Risk Landscape

When you consider that the global quality management software market is valued at $7.96 billion, why are we, as consumers, still being exposed to low quality, defective products?

Because, contrary to what most organizations think, there is more to quality management than simply making a good product. You need to know how you’re going to make it good and how you’re going to make sure it remains good.

In other words, you need a plan. A quality management plan to be exact.

The reasons for this will become even clearer as we make our way through this Process Street post and discuss:

Let’s get planning.
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What is Kata? Toyota’s Karate Concept for Lean Continuous Improvement and Coaching Success

Kata A Lean Tool for Continuous Improvement and Business Success

Yōkoso!

I apologize for my poor Japanse pronunciation. Pray, why am I speaking to you in Japanse?

Well, for this post, we will be delving into the Japanese mindset for business using Kata.

Kata is a methodology used to make businesses lean. The approach, originally used in martial arts, was developed by Japanese car manufacturer Toyota and has since stormed its way into the business realm churning out results, after results, after results.

For instance, Kata methodology has been shown to cut costs by 41%, and improve business performance by 75%.

I hear you, wow indeed!

In this Process Street article, we take a look at this karate concept and explain how to apply it in a business setting.

Click on the relevant subheader below to jump to your section of choice. Alternatively, scroll down and learn how to perfect the art of business.

Kiotsuke! Let’s get to it!
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EQMS: The Best Way to Crush Competition, Push Productivity & Reduce Recall

EQMS

Would you eat a McDonalds Big Mac that was out-of-date, had been dropped on the floor, and made with a stranger’s bare hands?

No! Me neither.

Unfortunately, that’s what thousands of people in China, unknowingly, did.

Back in 2015, the Chinese meat suppliers for McDonald’s were secretly filmed and caught:

Handling meat and chicken with their bare hands, taking meat that had fallen on the floor and adding it back on to the production line…and forging production dates on beef patties.” – ET2C, Lessons on the Importance of Quality Control Checks

Around 4,300 McDonalds beef patties were tested and found to be out-of-date and contaminated with bacteria.

As a result, over 2,000 McDonald’s outlets across Asia were dramatically affected. The reputation of McDonald’s and their meat supplier was irreversibly damaged, and McDonald’s saw a 7.3% drop in sales.

McDonald’s was definitely not ‘lovin it’.

If only they’d used Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS) to regulate their supplier’s meat handling processes and control the quality of the produce they were delivering.

Companies who use EQMS to manage quality, experience fewer product quality issues (less than 1%), and improve their productivity by 20%.

Keen to find out more? Join me in this Process Street post as we run through the following:

Let’s make our way through the golden arches and get started! 🍟🍟🍟🍟
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How Process Control Can Cut Costs & Eliminate Errors

process control

I don’t want to alarm you, but without process control, you’d be dead.

What? How? Why? …What?!

Your body is continuously performing a series of processes to keep you alive and it’s constantly checking for irregularities in these processes. If it picks up an abnormality, it immediately takes measures to regulate it, and return it to its desired state. Like when you’re too hot, for example. Your body recognizes that your temperature is above normal and produces water, in the form of sweat, to cool you down.

So you see, process control is the reason you’re alive and able to enjoy this Process Street post!

But this isn’t a lesson in biology (thankfully); the same concept can be applied to organizations too.

With adequate process control, businesses can perform efficiently, effectively, and safely. They can function at a consistent level and can even reduce operating costs by up to 6%. Without it, they would miss opportunities, make costly mistakes, and struggle to survive.

Process control is the ability to monitor and adjust a process to give a desired output.” – Beck Electric Actuators, What is Process Control?

To discover how process control can cut costs and eliminate errors within your organization, we need to find answers to the following questions:

To satisfy your curiosity (and return your body back to its normal state!), you’d better keep reading…
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HACCP Plan: What It Is, Why It’s Important, & How to Do It (Free Templates)

HACCP plan

Growing up on an island, my favorite food was in abundance: Fish.

However, whenever I ate at a restaurant there was always a voice in the back of my head wondering if the fish had been mismanaged and, due to that mismanagement, I’d get sick.

My anxiety around food safety wasn’t exactly unfounded. Fish is the most commonly impacted food group when it comes to disease outbreaks, and a quarter of a million people in the U.S. get sick each year from contaminated fish. And when it comes to all food groups, the CDC estimates that a whopping 1 in 6 Americans (which equates to 48 million people) become ill each year due to foodborne illness.

However, by not coming at food safety with a HACCP approach – and by creating and following a solid HACCP plan – these figures could be far, far higher.

Ergo: HACCP is important and, as a business in the food industry, you can even be required by law to go about HACCP properly.

To help you out, in this post I’ll discuss what HACCP and a HACCP plan are in detail, HACCP’s history, the benefits, and how Process Street can help you with all-things HACCP and food safety.

Just read through the following sections:

Let’s swim through the rest of the post! 🐟

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HAZOP: The Cornerstone of Effective Risk Management

HAZOP

I’ve just read an article.

The first two lines scared the living crap out of me:

Dihydrogen Monoxide. It’s everywhere. It’s in our bodies, it’s in our houses, and it’s in the air we breathe.
If we consume too much of it however, we will die.

Critical Risk Analysis for Our Daily Lives, Harvard

As a self-confessed worrier, you can imagine what happened when I read that.

Sheer. Blind. Panic.

Until I read the next line;

Dihydrogen Monoxide is just the chemical name for water

Yes, I did feel silly. But it did get me thinking.

About ‘risk’ of all things.

Risk is everywhere, in everything we do.

As we’ve just read; there’s a risk of dying from drinking too much water. There’s a risk of catching coronavirus every time we leave the house. Risk of breaking an ankle slipping on spilled coffee at work. Risk of choking on a toast crumb.

So, given that everything in work and life is so risky, how are we able to work and live?!

Through managing the risks we face.

Which brings me to the point of this HAZOP post.

HAZOP (which stands for Hazard and Operability) is a way of managing risks. It’s a technique that identifies potential hazards and functional flaws in new or existing systems and processes.

To get to grips with how to manage risk with HAZOP, we’ll cover the following topics in this Process Street post:

If you need a little convincing, here’s a sneak peek of the free HAZOP Process that we’ve created. Check it out and get it for free below.

Pour yourself a glass of Dihydrogen Monoxide, and let’s get started!

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Total Quality Management (TQM): Improve Processes & Keep Customers Happy

TQM-total-quality-management

What caused the global financial crash in 2008?

Failures of AIG, Lehman, Merrill, and other major financial firms? Disproportionate risk-taking by banks and lenders? Deregulation within the financial industry? Development of new ways to finance mortgage products? Excessive lending and borrowing in the housing market?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

However, these causes only tell half the story behind the financial meltdown that morphed into the biggest global recession since the Great Depression (Covid-19 aside).

What was the root cause? The real reason behind the enormous cost to the economies of many countries and the lost fortunes of millions of families?

A lack of total quality management (TQM).

Paul Moore, former head of group regulatory risk at HBOS (part of the Lloyds Banking Group since 2009), dubbed this crisis as ‘the biggest quality failure of all time.’

Total quality management stems from the belief that mistakes can be avoided if everyone is behind the continual process of detecting, reducing, and eliminating errors.

If organizations from within the financial sector believed in putting quality first, and positioned culture and people above profit margins and structure, the events leading up to the crisis could have been avoided.

Just imagine how different things might have been had the financial sector been managing their quality in a similar way to ISO 9001!

We’ll continue to explore this concept later but, before we do, let’s look at what else we’ll cover in this Process Street post:

Let’s get going!

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ISO 22000: The Farm to Fork Standards for Proper Food Safety Management

ISO 22000

I didn’t expect to get ill the last time I ordered food via UberEats.

Was it because of the rib eye steak? How the cook prepared it? Or how the steak was transported to the restaurant from the producer?

I don’t know.

What I do know, though, is that the CDC estimates 48 million people each year get sick from foodborne illness.

No matter your role in the food supply chain – whether you’re a primary producer, a storage operator, or a subcontractor to a food outlet – a food safety management system is necessary. Otherwise, you’re exposing people to illnesses that could potentially be life-threatening. Even if the illness is fleeting, the long-term result of a consumer’s sickness will result in your brand being tarnished.

Luckily, ISO 22000 can help you create and sustain a solid food safety management system.

In this post, I’ll discuss what ISO 22000 is in more detail, its requirements, its benefits, and why food safety management systems are just so important. Plus, I’ll explain how Process Street can help you gain ISO 22000 certification!

Read through the following sections to get clued up:

Hungry to learn more?

It’s time to dig in! 🍽

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