Lean Manufacturing Makes Every Move Count

Lean Manufacturing is a practice that is focused on eliminating any process or procedure that doesn’t improve the end value of a product, or removing anything that a customer would not be willing to pay for. While this does sound obvious, it sometimes takes out-of-the-box thinking to evaluate how a company or organisation is run and producing in order to see if there is a better way. Preserving value while reducing cost is the core element of lean manufacturing.

There are several ways to go about this. Some of the methods can almost be seen as competing methods, as they go about things from opposite perspectives, but the end goal is still eliminating non-value-adding work. Lean manufacturing is basically a set of tools that helps organisations to identify various forms of waste. Some of the tools that are often used are Value Stream Mapping, Five S, Kanban and poka-yoke. These methods focus on eliminating waste, because a waste eliminated improves production time, and eventually reduces an items cost, therefore increasing its value to the customer.

The second method focuses on production flow, keeping things flowing smoothly and evenly and not specifically on waste reduction. So, while these methods may almost seem contradictory, they both do improve the final product, which is the essence oflean manufacturing.

A simple way of summing it all up is that lean manufacturing aims at making work simple to understand, do and manage. A mentoring system has been implemented by some companies, and this has proven a very effective way to help employees to grasp their job, understand their objective and being able to deliver as expected. Other Companies have found that bringing in a coach to help identify areas where improvement could be made has been effective in “leaning” their procedures and improving their products.

Goal Setting Tools

For businesses, especially SMEs, it is always important to make sure that you have efficient and effective goal setting tools in place. By setting effective goals, you are able to measure the progress and growth of your business and any deviations from these goals can lead to positive restructuring of an organisation. So let’s take a look at the best ways to go about setting goals.

Actionable

When creating a goal that you want to achieve, make sure that you have the actions needed to achieve it in place from the start. Once you have finished setting your goal, there should be something that you can instantly pursue from that very moment.

Realistic

Goals can only ever be constructive if they are attainable and realistic. Being ambitious is great, but being too ambitious will lead to monumental disappointment. Conservative goals are usually the most effective for a lot of people as the end goal doesn’t appear daunting. Don’t set too many goals at once – even modest goals can be unachievable if you set 200 of them!

Pointer: Apply the 20% rule when setting goals; be as ambitious as you can without being too unrealistic and then chop off 20% – this should leave with you a fairly modest, powerful and most of all attainable goal.

Measurable

What is the point in setting a goal if there’s no way of measuring if it has been achieved? The internet has a whole bunch of free goal setting tools that can help you measure your results. For instance, Google Analytics is completely free and gives you exact numbers for different types of goals – perhaps your goal is attaining a certain level of traffic from search? Perhaps it’s the conversion rate of one of your funnels? All of this stuff can be measured online and shared amongst colleagues at absolutely no cost!

Help Desk Software: Could your Business do with some?

Many businesses deal in products and services that require a free help desk solution. This help desk may be there to serve employees who are using internal IT systems or it may be there to serve customers who have purchased your products or services. People who work in IT based organisations tend to make up a large percentage of help desk users but there are others who are now implementing them. For example a housing or property company many use a help desk for residents to report maintenance and repair needs. A supplier of telecoms may use one to record calls about faults and installations and so on.

NEUQs is a very versatile help desk software solution that can be adapted for use in many industries and sectors. Call details can be recorded very quickly using this system and it is therefore favoured by many call centre operators. These details are then sent to the relevant department and teams for further action to be carried out where necessary. The operator can prioritise the calls so that when the details are sent to the relevant people they can carry out the jobs in order of importance.

The NEUQs software tracks the whole process from the moment the call is taken right through until the case is closed. This has a number of benefits. Firstly, those dealing with the problem can see exactly what has been done prior to their involvement. Secondly, people at a management level can review the response times and actions of their staff.

Debt Recovery Solicitors for Small Businesses

Cash flow can be a big issue for small businesses. With the standard 30 day payment terms, it’s easy for a business to go a month without a much needed cash injection. Small businesses also have to make concessions; in many cases they can’t sign people into contracts because they need business and they need it fast.

So how do you look to recover debt if you’ve not tied anyone into a contract?

Well there are a number of avenues that you can take, debt recovery solicitors, agencies or even just going straight to the courts. Because agencies and courts can be very costly, we’re going to look at the more popular option – consulting a solicitor.

A debt solicitor is useful because:

1. They have a full understanding of the processes required to recover debt
2. They have the legal knowledge to write letters threatening extensive legal action
3. They are priced very competitively and often help settle issues outside of court

If you are interested in reading more about how debt solicitors can help you and the stepped approach that debt recovery requires, please read the UK Government’s managing debt website.

iPad Projector: Improve Meetings for SMEs

A year ago I was partnered in a typical small business. Our one and only tool that we always used for networking was the iPad and eventually the iPad 2. Great for showing others our portfolio or demonstrating our services – but in reality holding an iPad and a conversation just wasn’t that easy. We decided that the iPad was more of a fad (at least for us business people) than anything and so we decided to push it to the sidelines.

So why did we buy an iPad 2?

It wasn’t far into 2011 when Microvision released an iPad compatible projector that was successful enough to grab our attention. Not long after the initial release was a second generation created and this one had us drooling. With full iPad compatibility, the SHOWWX+ iPad projector was a must-see piece of tech. Within days we had grabbed one and began testing it out on the iPad we had shunned not so long before.

The projector was impressive – it could project your image from the small 7″ iPad screen onto a wall with over 100″ display. Presentations could be watched by everyone, not just the person you were talking to – and demonstrations, video and web content was so much easier to share. Not only this, but the iPad projector is about the same size as an iPhone making it ultra portable.

Finally for us, the iPad had a purpose in business. We could take it to a networking group and display it as 15″-20″ to a small group of people (and yes it works well in dim-normal light) or hold a meeting at the office and display it to everyone. The portability is what sets this projector apart from all over iPad projectors – sure the new HDMI capabilities of the iPad mean that you can plug in almost any modern projector unit, but most of these units aren’t at all portable.

Since then, there has been a long line of iPad projectors and the success is looking to continue right into 2012. If you are part of a business and you’re not sure about an iPad, think of how much more it can achieve with an iPad projector.

Hullabaloo: A Shining Example of Brand Design & Identity

All business owners know the importance of having a strong corporate identity. Your brand represents and speaks for your whole organisation and so it is crucial that you get it right. As you can imagine one of the first places to start is with a logo and the concept grows from there. Finding a professional company that you can work with is essential. Hullaballoo is an experienced marketing company that can help you build up your corporate identity. They have a number of years’ experience in the areas of logo design, catalogue and brochure design, packaging and advertising plus much so more.

Their slogan is ‘Listen.Think.Create.Deliver’ and they really do these things to a very high standard. Every business owner wants to know that their ideas are being listened to and when it comes to something like branding the owner really does know their business best. Hullaballoo are fantastic at taking your ideas and turning them into a workable and fantastic looking reality. Whether it’s brochure design or anything else design related, they add their experience and creativity into the mix and the results are always punctual and visually stunning.

Once you’re branding is finished you will need to begin to promote it. Hullaballoo can help you with all of your direct mail and e-mail marketing needs and get you off to a flying start or put the wind back into your business sails or should that be sales?

They have worked with a number of large companies such as Timberland, B&Q, Sainsbury’s and Connexions and are therefore the ideal solution for your all of your design and print needs.

Protect your Business with Security Cages

At SEHDA we want to provide as much useful information for business owners as possible. This article is written by our guest poster, Danielle who has 6 years of experience in the retail security field.

If you have the type of business that involves transporting of inventory from one location to another, for example, trade shows, fairground stand, or any business of that description, security cages are likely the ideal solution for secure storage of your inventory. Security cages are easy to transport, quick and easy to assemble, and they can be customized to meet your specific needs.

Security cages can be designed with windows, doors, shelves, and in many different sizes and shapes, depending on the components you chose. They are also ideal for warehouses that need to partition off a certain area or restrict access. Because of their versatility and economical value, they are increasingly becoming a solution for many businesses and individual storage needs.

There are a number of decisions to be made when selecting security cages, such as deciding if you need something transportable or something that can be stationary. Most manufacturers offer numerous options and are even able to completely engineer a product to suit your specific needs. Determining the thickness of your wire is another choice to be made, depending on the level of security you need. For various spaces and job descriptions, there are different style doors available. If space is very limited, a sliding door may be the best and only option, but there are also traditional swinging doors, Dutch doors, and dual door options.

Many of the security cage panel allow for customization, such as cut outs where necessary. You can also purchase a window panel direct from the manufacturer. Colors, wire styles and many other features are customizable, so you can be sure you can get a security cage that will serve your specific purpose. Manufactures will be happy to help you select the security cages that are best for your needs.

How to play online poker if you’re from the US

The laws on playing online poker in the USA are kind of blurred. While depositing on poker sites is very risky and could result in a fine, there are still a bunch of online poker sites that are still operating – why is this?

Well it’s not at all clear. Black Friday in 2011 resulted in the closure of one of the largest online poker sites in the world – Full Tilt Poker.

Finding a online poker site in the US

Well what poker sites accept US players and why or how? Since Full Tilt’s closure there has been a huge shift towards American ‘accepting’ poker sites like Carbon poker, so how is Carbon poker still operating?

The poker sites that are still operating are located outside of the US and therefore face different legal obligations. The security of American player accepting sites like these is in some doubt and depositing or playing online poker from anywhere in the US must be done at your own risk. Players have lost millions of dollars following black friday last year – play poker from America at your own risk!