Hacking Productivity with 5S Methodology

Recently we blogged about how some of our teams are using the KanBan productivity hack, specifically, the Calhoun team. KanBan represents one of five pillars of an even more robust system: 5S.

So what exactly is “5S”? It’s a structured program that helps implement organization and standardization in the workplace. It was developed in Japan and is a methodology developed in the 1960s and 1970s (particularly at Toyota). The 5S system is one of the techniques that enabled Just in Time manufacturing at Toyota to reduce flow times with production and allow for a quicker response times from suppliers and to customers.

The five pillars (each starting with the letter ‘s’) are derived from a list of Japanese words (also starting with ‘s’): seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.

Let’s walk through the five pillars:

  1. Sort (seiri)

This step includes removing unnecessary items, trash, unwanted materials, and parts not in use. By going through this sorting process, you reduce your chance of distraction, disturbance and obstacles.

  1. Set in order (seiton)

Now that you’ve sorted and eliminated unnecessary materials, you’ll want to arrange the necessary materials in a way that makes sense for use. Tools and equipment should be placed near you, so they are easy to find and pick up, ultimately creating a smooth workflow.

  1. Shine (seiso)

We all want to work in spic and span workspaces, right? Numerous studies show that clean environments will increase productivity. This step of 5S is designed to give you some time to clean your space and make sure machinery and equipment are in top shape. Per the methodology, anyone not familiar with your environment should be able to detect problems in five seconds and within 50 feet.

  1. Standardize (seiketsu)

This is the portion Serena detailed in her blog post about KanBan boards. The idea is to maintain high standards and workplace organization at all times. Everything has a place, and every process has a standard. The entire team is aligned with the processes.

  1. Sustain (shitsuke)

This pillar involves training and discipline. Everything must be kept in working order and regular audits should be completed, to keep everything moving along correctly.

While the 5S system is highly effective in a tech or manufacturing environment, it can also be used in any workspace, and even in the home. Think about the way your space is set up – does it contribute to or hinder your productivity? If it gets in the way of you doing your job, even if that just means running your household, it might be worth applying the pillars of 5S!

New Contracts With Two Existing Customers Demonstrate TSP’s Continued Growth in Shared Solutions

(DALLAS) April 26, 2016 TSP (Technology Service Professionals), a privately held IT services company, has announced another round of new contracts with two existing customers. The announcement celebrates the continued growth of its shared solutions group, as well as expanded relationships with its existing customers. The new and expanded contracts are expected to bring in approximately $4 million in annualized revenue.

During the first quarter of 2016, 14 new hires were added to managed services contracts in the east, west and central regions, including Dallas/Fort Worth, California, Seattle, New York, and New Jersey. Four out of the 14 new additions will serve as customer relations managers, while the rest will be data storage engineers.

TSP was approached in the summer of 2014 regarding providing maintenance renewal support, a previously non-developed service line. Excited by the opportunity, TSP put together a pilot program ultimately resulting in an entirely new service offering for TSP. The maintenance renewal team has grown from a three-person team to an eight-person team, allowing TSP to manage 600 accounts from one of its largest clients. This growth even led to TSP building out 2,000+ square feet of new space in their Dallas headquarters office in order to accommodate the current and future growth of this maintenance renewal team.

“This is not the first time we’ve innovated in order to meet the needs and desires of a valued customer, and it won’t be the last,” said Frank Gonzalez, co-founder and CEO of TSP. “Our business model has always been closely related to listening and responding to the needs of our customers, and we’re thrilled that we came up with a pilot program that continues to expand, and we look forward to providing this service to other customers.”

TSP also celebrated new contracts with a large storage and data management company based in California, also a current customer. The company recently underwent a transformation, and TSP was able to hire 15 U.S. and Canadian-based storage engineers during the month of March. Nearly overnight, ticket volumes exponentially increased, while the west, north central, south central and east regions all saw increased activity and revenue.

“There is nothing like seeing our TSP base expand with new hires and renewed contracts that span across the U.S. and Canada,” said Frank Gonzalez, co-founder and CEO of TSP. “We are happy to partner with our prestigious customer base and are grateful for their loyalty to our services and exceptional employees that provide those services every day.”

Through TSP’s shared solutions, the company partners with clients using best practices to help create custom solutions so our clients can focus on their primary business objectives. TSP’s shared solutions include maintenance services, managed services, consulting services, and project services.

About TSP
TSP is a privately held information technology services company founded in 2002 by Rick Skaggs and Frank Gonzalez. The business provides top-tier services in enterprise solutions, shared solutions, and industrial automation. The Certified Minority Owned Business has more than 600 employees, and its service area includes more than 35 U.S. states as well as Canada. The company’s client portfolio includes Texas Instruments, International Paper, Hewlett-Packard, Goodyear, Georgia-Pacific, Dell, Raytheon, 3M, Hitachi, NetApp, Lockheed Martin, IBM, and Neiman Marcus. To learn more, visit http://mytsp.net.

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Contribution to Recruiter.com article by Chris Skaggs, senior director, talent and brand management

recruiter.comAt this point, if your recruiting process doesn’t involve social media, then you’re probably doing it wrong. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to tap into the power of social networks for recruiting purposes. There’s a lot of noise out in the social space. Cutting through that noise and using social media in an efficient way requires more than just tweeting out open jobs and scrolling through candidates’ LinkedIn profiles.

#tbt: The Day TSP Received its First Service Ticket

Omar Gonzalez and Tinh Nguyen, TSP’s third and fourth employees (after co-founders Rick Skaggs and Frank Gonzalez) have been with TSP from the very start. When Omar and Tinh, reflect on their career path over the years, both #TSProckstars describe their experiences as a blessing in disguise and view TSP as a second family.

TSP co-founders Rick and Frank have a special relationship with Omar and Tinh that spans back to their years working together at Honeywell. They all worked together to build a solid computer support branch, which was shut down in 2002.

Rick and Frank were asked to let go of their talented team of engineers, which included Omar and Tinh’s positions. Instead of letting their talented employees move in different directions, Rick and Frank took a risk of starting a venture of their own, developing TSP and getting Omar and Tinh their jobs back.

Both Omar and Tinh recall this time as a daunting moment in their careers.

“It was a little scary. For those that know me, I am also a huge risk-taker. I love to gamble and play craps! I explained to Rick and Frank how it was going to be dicey for me to not take a paycheck for a couple months while the company was getting its feet on the ground, but I couldn’t turn down this opportunity of starting something new,” said Omar.

For the first few months of TSP’s founding, Omar and Tinh didn’t have many work assignments.

“Rick would come in every morning and ask us – ‘Do we have a call? Do we have a call?’ For one week, Omar and I did nothing but clean and complete inventory and organized all the spare parts. We had never spent so much time together! Omar and I kept waiting for something to happen so we could work,” said Tinh.

After much (maybe too much!) cleaning, organizing, and bonding, Omar and Tinh received their first CSC ticket. Tinh remembers that the call came in after lunch, while Omar had briefly slipped out of the office (Omar remembers the call a tad differently, as they often like to joke around about who was in the room to field the call first).


Regardless, they both clearly remember that the call was from Raytheon, and it was for a 4GB hard drive for a Sun Sparc 20 system. Both Omar and Tinh will never forget their first work order and knew it was the start of something special.

“We certainly remember that it was the beginning of something special. The week after that one call, we received another call from TI for a bid, and that is where the (work) flood started,” said Omar. “From there, we continued to grow and were able to hire other engineers who had worked with us at Honeywell! Today, TSP has grown to over 600 employees.”

Omar and Tinh have continued to develop both personally and professionally with this company, and each truly value every opportunity they have been given by Rick and Frank. The two are proud to be TSP’s first non-owner employees, and even more proud of where the company is today.

“There is a lot of pressure in our day-to-day job activities, but the one objective Rick and Frank have always maintained is to take care of our customers. That has always been instilled within us both at Honeywell and now at TSP. If I had to go back to the last 14 years, I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Tinh.

ZipRecruiter.com Taps Internal TSP Expertise for Recent Article

LOGO-zip recruiterChris Skaggs, sr. director, talent & brand management of TX-based TSP, a privately held information technology services company, says the most common lies he sees relate to degrees earned and inflated GPAs. There’s also language job seekers use, like saying they attended a college versus graduating, “to dodge the bullet of having to admit they did not complete their degree,” says Skaggs.

Culture Naysayers…They Do Exist!

Hire a champion of your company culture, and you could be set up for monumental success. Hire a culture naysayer, and you could be doomed.

You don’t have to look very hard to find a study that mentions “culture” as a top factor in why people are choosing to initially join and consequently stay with a company. In the coming years, a company’s culture will continue to become more and more important to a candidate’s decision making.

According to Ryan Scott, a contributor at Forbes, “When millennials are considering applying for a job…what matters most to them is the company’s work culture, involvement with causes, office environment, and attention to diversity and HR standards…Culture is everything; for Millennials.”

This will be even more important with our evolving workforce as we continue to see baby boomers retire and millennials take their places. A recent study by Ernst & Young states, “By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of millennials.”

The Impact of your Hiring on Your Culture
Culture is created and sustained by employees, so employees that you hire either add to or take away from your culture. Arguably, employees hired and/or promoted as the leaders of the organization are very important in shaping the culture. These individuals have an impactful relationship on not only how the company’s culture is perceived, but also how it’s propagated.

Unfortunately, the effects of a leader who also is a culture naysayer are sometimes felt long after that leader has exited the organization. Employees that reported to that leader have undoubtedly experienced some trickle-down effects and you will need to regain that trust to get those employees back in your culture good graces.

The Low-Hanging Fruit
We’ve all been personally guilty of taking the low-hanging fruit option, and so do many companies, especially as they grow. The important question to ask yourself is, “will the short-term gains of taking the low-hanging fruit, be worth the potential long-term disruptions?”

Take for example hiring a person with an established book of business. This scenario is great from a financial angle in that the company is going to instantly be on the receiving end of increased revenue. However, what if that person is a jerk and doesn’t fit into your company culture and share your values and visions? There is absolutely a tradeoff that deserves to be recognized.

We would argue that generally speaking, short-term gains are not worth the long-term disruptions.

 Identify Culture Naysayers Early On
Those short-term gains can certainly be tempting; however, we ask that you resist the urge. Below is a short list and some key questions to ask yourself and help you recognize a culture naysayer sooner rather than later:

  1. How do they interact with other people at your organization?
  2. Do they talk about other people with you when those individuals are not around to defend themselves?
  3. Even in non-standard business settings (happy hours, networking events), do you want to be around that individual?
  4. How do you feel after leaving a meeting with them?
  5. Do you ever wonder if your message isn’t making it whole-heartedly to the rest of the team?
  6. When the person is not around, is there a different feeling and general demeanor change?
  7. Do you ever find yourself being “guarded” and watching what you say?
  8. Is there a real possibility what is being said to your face differs with what’s being said when you aren’t present?
  9. Do you ever feel that individual’s personal success, ambitions, and aspirations, are greater than those of the company?
  10. Have you become an expert in avoidance in order to not interact with the individual?

Certainly this isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list of questions, however, these are a few questions, if answered honestly, that might save some heartache down the road. You can’t prevent every bad hire, and sometimes the low-hanging fruit option is also a culture fit – a win-win! However, always staying true to your company culture is the best solution for long-term success.

Finding the Right Custom Data Storage Solution

by: Chris Helms, Senior Storage Engineer, Shared Solutions

Choosing a solution for data storage used to be simpler. Storage needs were a lot more basic, data quantity was more manageable, and relational databases could handle most needs without too much trouble. Today, data is much more complex, and every size business has to narrow down exactly what kind of storage solution is best for them. This is even harder because the “best” solution is often a moving target.

Choosing storage solutions today versus the pre-NoSQL world is kind of like choosing a television before and after flat screens became the norm. You used to go to the store and choose a television. Now you have hundreds of sizes, brands, models, picture qualities, and connectivity choices. Some people love diving straight to the bottom of the specs, and others just want a TV and start to feel overwhelmed by all the options. Finding a good data solution isn’t all that different; whether you feel overwhelmed or overjoyed, the process is complicated.

Storage is complex and comes with its own dictionary that can sound like Computer Klingon to the uninitiated. Here’s a sample: linear scale performance, open source, distributed, protocol, consistency, tunable…if you need a custom data storage solution but reading that list of storage jargon made your eyes glaze over, don’t worry, we can get through this together. Some of our teams specialize in understanding exactly what service needs our customers require based on their data storage solution. No matter what level of data a client needs to manage, we help you manage a secure, appropriate solution based on your needs.

If you already speak the language and reading that insider tech jargon made you think, “Hmm, they didn’t mention masterless architecture,” our senior engineers can jump into the tech-speak rodeo with the best of them. It’s what we do.

Building storage solutions before NoSQL required a certain level of expertise, but the NoSQL era has opened lots of new doors that lead to a vast combination of data solutions which was convoluted even more with the introduction of NewSQL databases.

TSP takes pride in partnering with every client to find the ideal storage service solution, regardless of the client’s requirements or expertise. Whether clients need a data storage breakdown or want to debate the ins and outs of the most technical matters, we’re here to serve.