Operational Excellence: 3 Proven Ideas that Will Transform Your Operations

November 16, 2021

Your manufacturing business continually strives to maintain profitability, stay ahead of the competition, and keep pace with technological changes. In addition, achieving and maintaining operational excellence is a significant goal of your company's success. Undoubtedly, this has proven to be a challenge amid a global pandemic as supply chain delays, increased costs, and staffing shortages persist. 

Given the current environment, how can your company begin the journey to operational excellence? 

manufacturing team working together | what is operational excellence

What Is Operational Excellence?

Before discussing the ideas to help transform your operations, let's take a closer look at what defines operational excellence. 

Operational excellence carries a few connotations, depending on the goals of your business. When striving to achieve operational excellence, it's essential to define the concept for your organization's needs.  

In general, operational excellence is focused on reducing risk, complexity, and cost while improving safety, sustainability, and productivity. However, it requires a framework of people, processes, and technology to succeed. Finding the right balance amongst the three elements is critical to efficiency. 

In the manufacturing sector, the road to operational excellence includes goals of producing high-quality products, forming and maintaining trusted work relationships, reducing costs, and future expansion. 

Understanding and Developing a Transformation Process Model

Transforming your company's operations is not a process done overnight. It requires an understanding of the company's current drivers before mapping out how to improve them. Establishing a team to set goals and desired outcomes with an organizational transformation plan will increase the chances of success. The inclusion of key stakeholders is important to this process. 

The following questions are addressed in the process model:

  • How are social, regulatory, macroeconomic, and other external forces affecting the company? 
  • What level of experience do the customers expect, and how can that expectation be met? 
  • What significant sources of risk exist, and how can they be effectively monitored and mitigated? 
  • How can the staff's knowledge of the product and services be harnessed and expanded?  
  • What major strategies is the company currently struggling with?

Three Considerations to Transform Your Operations

While there are several ways your business can address the above questions, here are three ideas that can apply:  

  1. Build and maintain trust and communicate with stakeholders:
    People are a significant piece of the operational excellence framework. Building trusted relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders ensures that everyone works together efficiently. This also means sharing relevant and timely data as well as being transparent. Regular communication is also essential, since being open about minor problems can resolve them before they turn into major issues.

    While there are several things that do improve with age, such as fine wine, wisdom, and nostalgia, problems do not get better with time.

  2. Identify a set of KPIs to measure progress:
    Measuring progress is key to determining if a process is working efficiently or if improvement is warranted.  For this reason, identifying and using the right set of metrics is an important component in the quest for operational excellence. KPIs will differ in each type of business, since they are dependent on the type of product or service involved.  In the manufacturing sector, relevant metrics would include throughput times, overall equipment effectiveness, production uptime, and task completion times.

  3. Leverage new technology efficiently:
    Technology plays a vital role in helping to transform your company's operations. However, jumping too quickly into substantial investments in new technology can backfire. Without the proper training and expertise, new technology will not be used to its utmost potential, resulting in a poor return on investment. 

Conclusion

Today's businesses are under mounting pressure to control costs and meet customer expectations while staying a step ahead of the competition. For this reason, transforming operations to work towards the goal of operational excellence is more crucial than ever.  Including the people, processes, and technology in the transformation plan increases the chances for a successful outcome. MetaExperts™ is global network of Operational Excellence (OpEx) deployment experts and resources for flexible, on-demand short-term contract or contract-to-hire needs. MetaExperts™ align with your industry and OpEx initiatives and are thoroughly vetted through our unique 300+ Screening and Evaluation Process and aligned to your organization using a 47+ alignment process to ensure you get the right talent to solve your specific situation. To learn more, visit https://MetaExperts.com

Kim Crabtree

Kim Crabtree is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years experience in progressively responsible roles in business, marketing, sales, and customer relationship management in a variety of business sectors. Kim is a developer and author of a 3 day Marketing Kaizen and Caregiver Code of Conduct, training for home health aids.

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