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Do I Really Need Process Excellence, Does It Justify The Costs Incurred?

By Vivek Bhachawat

It is often a matter of debate whether or not the pursuit of excellence is feasible economically? Organizations around the world have a divided opinion about the pursuit of excellence in operations and production process, this is because of the fact that the technology is changing at a very brisk pace in most of the prominent industries. The top management of such organizations is always in a dilemma that the pursuit of excellence would prove to be very costly and become redundant if there is a dramatic change in the technology of the industry. Also another impediment in the pursuit of process excellence would be the effort required towards the achievement of overall process excellence.

I believe that there is a basic flaw in the above perspective which is the way the top management of organizations associate process excellence with costs. I believe excellence should be pursued in every aspect that the customers associate with the end product’s end. A process being the set of activities and tasks which add value to a product, excellence is desired in all facets of the process which correspond to the customer’s perspective of value. Only when excellence is pursued in terms of the resultant value it can provide, it starts to seem economically feasible. Also, the application of flexible IT systems in manufacturing operations, make the achievement of process excellence easier. Modern IT applications such as the MES, Manufacturing Excellence, Data Analytics and Manufacturing Intelligence packages are able to incorporate and adapt to any technology changes that might occur in the future, without having to change the basic design and operation of the application. Such IT applications enable operations personnel to view the process as a set of value adding activities and pursue excellence in those activities that have a major impact on the customer value.
IT applications allow economic and systematic improvements to be made. An Organization may follow any of the excellence techniques from TQM to BPR, if it has the right IT infrastructure to support their efforts it would be able to succeed in a way that will reflect actual enhancement in the customer’s value. So the real question that arises here is, whether or not my IT infrastructure can support the pursuit of process excellence? If the answer to this question is No, then I am afraid the economic outcome of excellence efforts might not be very pleasing to the management, if the answer is Yes, then the organization is capable of achieving excellence if it sticks with the value perspective explained above. So if you are a customer centric organization and you lay emphasis on the value your process can add, the pursuit of excellence will be economically feasible if you have the IT infrastructure to support it.

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