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“Operational Excellence, Is It Really Out Of Reach?

Operational excellence is highly desirable, and organizations strive to achieve it. But is it a static state of being or is it dynamic? Once operational excellence is achieved is it easy to sustain? Is the pursuit of operational excellence even worth the effort? Well let’s answer these questions one by one and try to gain clarity, achieving operational excellence and maintaining it is a dynamic process, you have attained operational excellence when your process is capable of meeting the requirements of external forces dynamically. Your operations has achieved excellence when your process knowledge is refined to state where you are aware of all parameters that potentially effect process performance and you are able to locate root cause of every performance related issue. A process that is excellent will achieve a state of equilibrium with market governed deliverables in real-time and without many grass root changes. An excellent process will deliver regularly on at least 3-4 of the 5 vital process performance parameters, which are Quality, Speed, Dependability, Flexibility and Cost.
Achieving process excellence needs an Organization wide commitment, starting from the very top. When the pursuit of excellence becomes a main focus area of the top management, achieving excellence will become a lot easier. The top management should understand the reasons for having an excellent operation and truly believe that through sustained and coordinated efforts achieving operational excellence is well within reach. Top management should remain pro-technology and understand that one of the key contributors to achieve increasingly better performance is through the application of end-to-end information systems, which have the capability of monitoring, controlling and executing the entire process on a single platform. Information solutions help operations gain clarity and makes coordinated efforts possible. Achieving operational excellence becomes less challenging when the process functions as a single entity, this integration is possible only through information solutions that have the capability of integrating the process right from, receipt of raw materials to dispatch of ready to ship products.
Besides management commitment and technology, there are other key contributors to the pursuit of excellence; they are- employee training/participation, Quality means 0 defects philosophy and management by common sense. These factors are equally important and can mean the difference between success and failure of the entire endeavor. However, for this article my major area of concern remains the importance of technology and even more so the role of IT in the pursuit of Operational Excellence. So coming back to the area of focus, I believe information solutions can help reduce cycle time, operational expense, inventory and operational errors greatly. IT should be considered the foundation for building a strong and profitable process. Top management should consider developing either in-house IT capabilities or if they want to concentrate on core competencies they should consider outsourcing IT, but only to a capable and well equipped partner, with relevant industrial experience and expertise. The major benefit of employing an IT expert is that the resources of the organization could be used to improve issues related to the core competency and an expert can design a process specific solution and provide change management and employee training as well.
To sum up, let me revisit the topic again and reemphasize my thoughts on it. According to me operational excellence is well within reach if planned for and pursued sincerely. Once achieved operational excellence can be sustained if the process is equipped with the right technology and has the will and training to sustain it. It becomes worthwhile to achieve operational excellence simply because it shows that the organization would never settle for anything less than the best. If you achieve excellence you become best-in-class operation, which is a direct boost to your reputation and which would inevitably lead to better business. Please share your thoughts and suggestions with us about this blog, write into us at or just leave a comment on this web-page and we will get back to you.

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