Operational Excellence: Key to grow your business – Jayant Murthy
The term Operation Excellence (OE) is different for different people or different organizations. Each and everyone have their own interpretation. For some being On Time, In Full and Error free is OE, and for some being the World Class Globally is Operational Excellence, and for some Excellence in everything they do is Operational Excellence. Hence OE is too broad to explain.
But in a layman’s language, OE is an element of organizational leadership that stresses the application of a variety of principles, systems, and tools toward the sustainable improvement of key performance metrics.
Much of this management philosophy is based on earlier continuous improvement methodologies, such as Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and Scientific Management. The focus of Operational Excellence goes beyond the traditional event-based model of improvement toward a long-term change in organizational culture.
It is a philosophy of 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.
Operational Excellence is a state that each and every company would like to achieve. It is a state or a point at which each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer.
Operational excellence can be achieved by embracing the culture of Kaizen® (Change for better). Operational Excellence applies to all employees, from doorman to chairman. It has to be practiced every day, by everyone and everywhere says Masaaki Imai, Founder & Chairman, Kaizen Institute.
A Better definition of Operational Excellence
Properly defining operational excellence is the first step to achieve operational excellence but it is often overlooked by many. Without proper definition of OE it is impossible to align an organization around a new way of doing business. It is also important to know that OE alone does not guarantee results. It should be aligned with the strategies of business. Therefore it is a combination of Good Strategies & Operational Excellence that yields results or business excellence. Therefore:
Business Excellence = Strategic Excellence + Operational Excellence
Therefore a business cannot grow or excel with only Good Strategies or Good Operations.
If planning is to Strategy, Doing is to Operations. Strategy & Operations aka Planning and Doing are the two sides of management. It is clear; Strategy must be met with efficient Operations. Strategy without Operations is like a ship without a rudder.
Operational Excellence has today become a vita area of focus for all organizations. Most organizations in manufacturing, service and even other sectors including governments are pursuing Operational Excellence for better productivity and customer satisfaction.
A Kaizen® Mind
Kaizen® is defined in English as ‘continual improvement’ but it is much more than the words signify. Kaizen® is a way of life, an attitude, a spirit, that prevails at all times in an organization. And therefore it is said that Kaizen® is for ‘Everyone’ (all employees, managers included), ‘Everyday’ (not like a month end sales promotion…but a way of life) and ‘Everywhere’ (all departments – not restricted to the shop floor).
What do you mean by a Kaizen® mind? Such a mind in a very positive way has the following characteristics:
- Any existing operations/process has a lot of room for improvement. Sensei Masaaki Imai in fact
- says “Work under a mindset that the way you are doing anything today is the worst possible way of doing it.”
- The existing facilities and methods can always be improved by effort.
- The accumulation of improvements makes a big difference.
- Imperfect progress is better than postponed perfection; bias on getting things done.
- Kaizen® does not have an end. After one improvement, keep striving for the next one.
And this is what will help you become Operationally Excellence! World Class or Best in Class.
If this understood properly you can achieve Operational Excellence.
The road to achieving Operational Excellence is by identifying the current state of the processes, by identifying strength/weaknesses of them and redesigning these processes to align with strategic/business goals. Operational Excellence is when each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow when it breaks down. Kaizen® provides the road map to get there.