The word improvement in operations means different things to different people, some define it as lower operating cost or reduced inventory while others describe it in terms of increased efficiency or better quality. The process of achieving improvement in an organization often involves management setting a goal, employees making changes in their areas to achieve it, then management setting a new goal. If everything goes right, the best this cycle will yield is continuous improvement year after year. This approach becomes a never-ending goal of getting better but with no specific destination.
A more recent approach is Operational Excellence. This approach begins with a strategic design for operational performance to make the organization consistently the best amongst the competition. Rather than focusing solely on continuous improvement (adjusting processes to reduce waste, improve quality, and maximize human potential), operational excellence goes further, it involves setting the organization up for growth by understanding what the market wants and creating an uninterrupted value stream that always feeds the need, even if it changes.
Operational Excellence is not confined to the executive suite or the factory floor, it involves every person at every level of the organization because every role is doing something that brings value to the customer.
There are 8 key components of a successful Operational Excellence Program, they are:
- strategic direction
- leadership engagement
- process excellence (continuous improvement efforts)
- product/service innovation
- employee involvement
- commitment to quality
- superior safety
- commitment to surpassing customer expectations
The Business Dictionary describes it this way:
“A workplace where problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership results in the ongoing improvement in an organization. The process involves focusing on the customers’ needs, keeping the employees positive and empowered, and continually improving the current activities in the workplace.”
Achieving Operational Excellence
Achieving Operational Excellence within a company requires a clear plan of action and a good partner to help you through the process of implementing the key elements of an Operational Excellence Program. Methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma, Lean, Kaizen, Change Management and others are critical components for equipping your team and driving Operational
Acuity Institute has worked with many organizations, training their teams and helping them achieve Operational Excellence Success.