Over the course of my career, I’ve met numerous continuous improvement and operations professionals. While they are passionate about improving their organization and adding value, often they feel their efforts are unsupported and viewed as being isolated from the other departments. Yet, in many of those same organizations, I have heard the executive team talk about achieving operational excellence. Why such differences?

In most cases it is due to not fully understanding what Operational Excellence truly is and how to pursue it. Operational Excellence occurs when an organization’s improvement initiatives are aligned with and enable the strategic vision of the company.

Here are five keys that an organization must have in place to pursue operational excellence:

  1. Clear Vision – The company must have a simple, understandable statement with specific objectives to describe their future state. This vision may focus on products, market share, how products are delivered to the market, growth, etc. The vision must be shared, clearly communicated throughout the organization, enabling every department to align their efforts with it.
  2. Engaged People – You can have the best strategy and vision in the world; however, if you don’t have your people engaged and supporting it, you will never achieve operational excellence.
  3. Honest Assessment of Your Current State – To develop a strategy to achieve your company vision, you need to understand where you are starting from. The best way to do this is assessing your organizations maturity level in four key areas: Engagement of Your People, Process Capability, Level of Technology, and How Disciplined Your Execution is.
  4. Continuous Improvement – If you want to achieve operational excellence, you need a continuous improvement methodology. The best continuous improvement methodology is the one you are going to stick with for the long term. Don’t jump from one methodology to another every couple years or you will never fully engage your people.
  5. Right Metrics – While data and metrics are important, don’t just gather data for data’s sake. Determine which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the most meaningful for your company’s vision and use those to measure progress.

If you have questions about any of these keys or would like more information, contact us to schedule a consultation.