All posts in Project Management


DFSS: How Design For Six Sigma can Supercharge Your Business

dfss design for six sigmaAs we build businesses, we strive to make them successful in what they do and efficient in the way they carry that out.

Six Sigma is framework with dual American and Japanese origins which helps companies achieve both of these aims.

We want to take company processes and make them better, smoother, faster, easier – it’s what Process Street does. But having a complex process optimized to the highest degree, as Six Sigma advocates, is tough.

That’s why we’re going to look at Design for Six Sigma.

This will take the Six Sigma lessons and apply them to creating new processes or products. Importantly, it will help us set up these processes or products in a way which makes them ready from the start for further Six Sigma-inspired analysis.

According to Quality-One:

…[U]tilizing Design for Six Sigma methodologies, companies have reduced their time to market by 25 to 40 percent while providing a high quality product that meets the customer’s requirements.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • What is Six Sigma?
  • What is Design for Six Sigma?
  • What is DMADV?
  • What is the difference between DMAIC and DFSS

We’ll run through the best practices of creating new products and processes in a way that they can be improved and optimized from the very beginning.

Don’t waste your time with poor processes. Start right and continue properly.

Read on to see how it works!

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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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How to Use Conditional Logic: 8 Ways to Simplify Complex Processes

conditional logic

Documenting processes is great in theory, but creating and following them can be a pain.

Your processes need to be standardized so that everyone’s performing the same tasks consistently. However, that often leaves you with either a large, complex and unusable process which covers every situation or lots of smaller, specialized processes which become difficult to manage or track.

Conditional logic saves you all of that trouble by letting you create processes which change to suit the situation at hand.

By setting rules for your processes to follow and update based on their outcome, you can simplify your processes and make even the most complicated task list easy to navigate. All optional tasks can be automatically hidden from view until (and if) they are required to keep your dashboard clear and encourage teams to avoid taking shortcuts.

Nobody wants to work through a horribly complex process that you know you won’t need half of to complete your task.

However, as with business process automation, conditional logic’s power is best shown through examples, so today I’ll be showing you both how to use it and giving eight example processes which take advantage of it, including client onboarding and user support.

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9 Lean Manufacturing Principles to Kill the Jargon and Get Quality Results

lean manufacturing principles

If the following benefits sound like something you’d like for your business, you need to use lean manufacturing principles:

  • 80%+ waste reduction
  • 50% lower production costs
  • 80-90% reduction in standing inventory
  • 90% lower cost of quality (it’s 90% cheaper to make quality products)
  • 50% increased labor productivity

Lean is a system, method, school of thought, and even a way of life, all focused on reducing waste. Although it’s usually applied to manufacturing (hence “lean manufacturing principles”), the methods to achieve it can be used to reduce waste while maintaining high quality no matter what operation you’re running.

The key is knowing what each principle involves and how to use it, which is exactly what we’re going to cover today!

Keep reading to get the full rundown on the following lean principles (with two techniques for good measure):

  • Eliminate waste
  • Kaizen (continuous improvement)
  • Respect human elements
  • Heijunka (level production)
  • JIT (Just In Time) production
  • One piece flow
  • Quality built-in
  • Poka-Yoke (mistake proofing)
  • Jidoka (detecting defects through automation)

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How Were The Pyramids Built? Inside The World’s First Documented Processes

How were the pyramids builtWe talk a lot about processes here at Process Street and we try to give insight into not only how to make current processes better but also into how processes have evolved over time and why.

We’ve looked at case studies, poor processes, optimized processes, and technical guides to business process management.

But we’re no stranger to going back in time to explore the development of processes and where they came from. In this article, we’re going to follow up on the theme established in our post on surgical processes and look at processes and organizational systems in history.

This is the story of ancient Egypt.

The Great Pyramid is considered one of the wonders of the world. But how did it come to be?

We’ll look at a number of the classic discussions surrounding the construction of the pyramids, but focus on how a society which existed nearly 5000 years ago was able to construct some of the greatest and most iconic monuments known to humankind.

We’ll explore:

  • What was the Great Pyramid and how was it built?
  • Who built the Great Pyramid and what was labor like throughout the period of construction?
  • How were things organized in ancient Egypt?; Or, how to count from one to ten.
  • What do we know about trade in ancient Egypt?
  • Who were the scribes and why were they important?

Ancient Egypt is one of the first civilized societies for which we have an understanding of their perceptions of organization and management.

Spoiler alert: they used checklists!

Let’s dive in!

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

business process consultant

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!

process consultant hired
(Source)

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

One Piece Flow - header

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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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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How to Smash Your Business Bottlenecks (Plus 3 Key Tools to Help!)

how to smash your business bottlenecksOn October 3rd 2017, the Financial Times reported that Tesla shares had slumped after the business hit a bottleneck in its production.

Tesla shares fell nearly 2 per cent to $335.91 after the Palo Alto-based company said that it produced just 260 of its Model 3 vehicles in the third quarter, well below the target of more than 1,500 that chief executive Elon Musk had predicted for the month of September alone.

What caused that failure to hit the target?

A bottleneck.

A bottleneck is when one process in a chain of processes cannot perform to the standard of those around it, creating a delay which damages the other processes.

No matter how well Tesla creates batteries or programs its self-driving software, if the factory can’t, for example, install tires fast enough then Tesla can only produce cars at the rate it installs tires.

That poor process brings all of production down to its level. Business output becomes defined by its weakest link.

But it’s not just shop floor industrial processes which fall foul of these problems. Any business or set of operations will be faced with this challenge too. In this article, we’ll look at a couple of approaches you can use to attempt to identify and overcome bottlenecks in your business.

  • Flow charts help you visualize current operations
  • The Five Whys technique allows you to identify root causes quickly
  • Toyota’s three concepts for process implementation focus your improvement
  • How Process Street can assist in beating bottlenecks

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