Operational Excellence (OpEx) ultimately has the goal of improved business performance. This, of course, is the goal of many business management philosophies, so what is Operational Excellence?
Put simply, Operational excellence involves a holistic approach to creating a long-term culture of continuous improvement by aligning a number of well-known, proven business and operational processes or improvement methodologies. The approach is based on the overall vision of the company and how to execute this. It involves every facet of the business, encompassing every process and employee in the business to deliver the business strategy to a higher quality, more consistently.
It is usually thought of as a business philosophy or approach that can be adopted by any company, in any industry. However, it is often most effective when embraced by companies that have complex processes and operations, such as manufacturing or healthcare organisations.
The principles of Operational Excellence look beyond short-term cost reduction to focus instead on improvements that support enduring and sustainable business growth which is more important than ever in today’s increasingly competitive and rapidly evolving, business world.
Operational Excellence can embrace a number of techniques and tools, but commonly involves:
Ultimately, the aim of Operational Excellence is to create long-term, sustainable change through cultural shifts which are embraced throughout the entire business. The path to Operational Excellence isn’t a quick fix and is often driven by smaller, incremental gains through continuous improvement.
Although Operational Excellence can be an extremely powerful approach to business improvement. Many businesses successfully increase efficiencies and reduce risk by implementing key OpEx methodologies and it can be a key driver of competitive advantage. However, there are also instances where initiatives fail for a number of reasons.
The main pitfalls we often identify are:
If you are considering implementing an Operational Excellence strategy within your business, but are keen to understand more about the potential benefits or pitfalls then it may be worth speaking to a consultant, such as the team as Clarity Visual Management who can help.
Organisations sometimes depend just on a single person to drive CI activities on a multitude of initiatives. The Opex Foundation Academy gives the opportunity to train and extend Lean Six Sigma knowledge across the organisation by creating a wider team of Operational Excellence Champions who are knowledgeable in the foundational tools and behaviours required.
This cascade of knowledge helps to change the business culture across all levels and functions and starts to develop the new language associated with Operational Excellence. Projects can now embrace a knowledge set with tools and techniques previously not considered, yielding business benefits in a timely manner.
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