Achieving Operational Excellence

According to this article, we never been under more pressure to achieve operational excellence. In our post-pandemic world, our employees are still finding and adapting to new ways of working, profit margins remain in flux, and our clients hamper financial forecasting with uncertain prospects themselves. But after over a year of volatility, the need for growth and profitability is more significant than ever.

Here are common challenges:

  • Poor data collection – In order to benchmark performance and improve it at any level, we need data. That can be hard to come by.
  • No culture of accountability – Operational Excellence occurs when businesses achieve cascading business goals from the top to the bottom of the organization. This depends upon building a culture of accountability, wherein every team member understands and feels motivated to meet their own targets.
  • Different client expectations – One of the biggest challenges for service businesses is our clients. Try as we might, our businesses can sometimes struggle to align their own objectives and ways of working with those of the client.

Thankfully, there are ways around all of these challenges. Good planning, tools, and technology can help. Here is a roadmap for Operational Excellence:

  1. Create visibility over data – break down information silos and spread useful data insights throughout the company. Only with the right data can we help cross-functional teams excel, and increase their mastery of their areas of responsibility.
  2. Reduce manual burden – low-value, high-labor activities hurt employee productivity and introduce human error. Looking for ways to automate some of these basic tasks feeds visibility and is low-hanging fruit for starting the flywheel of continuous improvement.
  3. Get whole-team buy-in – For continuous improvement efforts to gain traction, we need senior leaders aligned around business goals, and making it easy for everyone else to participate and contribute towards them.
  4. Report against relevant metrics – To understand the impact initiatives are having, we need a holistic view of outcomes at the business level, too.

I appreciate the perspective that OE happens at all levels of the organization. If you recognized that quality is more than compliance, but a way to operational excellence that creates a strategic advantage for your organization, then consider joining like minded folks in our Quality/OE Peer Group.

January 25, 2022