Operational Excellence is a process and a result.
Operational Excellence (OpEx) is a management framework for organizations to focus on growth and streamline productivity.
It involves creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are clear and followed consistently by staff.
These SOPS are easy to execute and staff feel enabled to complete them efficiently. The net result is a team that is composed of motivated employees that all understand what they are doing, feel engaged in the process and can recognize and correct issues quickly.
Drawing from continuous improvement and other tools, companies pursue perfection by adopting a mindset of problem solving, teamwork, and top-line growth, allowing them to create more value for customers.
OpEx requires additional work from all levels of the organization to improve quality, safety, maintenance and production processes. Investment in new equipment, tools and materials may be required to improve. Staff are also required to spend some time and energy completing observations and suggestions, managing projects and updating documentation.
Ultimately, organizations who invest in OpEx are expecting a financial return as the company reduces costs and increases efficiency. Increased employee engagement is also achieved as staff are enabled, energized and empowered.
WHERE TO BEGIN
Where you begin depends on where you are at currently.
If you have no Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) then that is probably the best place to start.
The first step toward OpEx is building efficient processes that make it clear to all employees whether or not an organization’s systems are running smoothly and make it possible for team members to step in with improvements when necessary.
SOPs enable training and allow all staff to more efficiently understand what the usual process is, where it went wrong and how to correct it.
To document SOPs, you can start by understanding and documenting the current process. These processes, also known as value streams, can produce tangible products like cars or intangible ones like services.
Establishing a continuous improvement program would be the next step.
Continuous improvement programs can take on a variety of different forms.
Top-down processes start with corporate objectives and rely on supervisors to enlist staff to drive change. Bottom-up processes use suggestions and observations from staff to understand insights and opportunities.
Top-down is generally more efficient and strategic, whereas bottom-up generally has more of a positive impact on the culture.
SYSTEMS THAT ENABLE RESULTS
The right tools provides the best chance for success.
Whatever system you choose to employ, there are 2 fundamental pillars to consider - (1) corporate alignment and (2) systems that enable, energize and empower employees.
Corporate alignment essentially means that, from top to bottom, your organization is committed to continuously fostering a positive culture that focuses on meeting and exceeding customer expectations through a process that empowers staff. Once this is established and continuously reinforces, staff understand “why” they are taking on extra work.
Many organizations fail to achieve a positive ROI for OpEx, however, because they fail to motivate staff to positively contribute to the organization’s goals.
To enable Operational Excellence, manufacturers need to monitor what is occurring on the factory floor, create and manage improvement projects and enable an efficient process of change.
This requires additional work and focus. If it's hard to participate, if staff don't feel recognized, and if they are not rewarded, both intrinsically and extrinsically, for making the additional effort, they will ultimately not put in the extra effort.
To be successful, your OpEx system needs to be:
- Enabling - Providing staff with the tools and resources they need to effectively participate.
- Energizing - Fostering intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to do the extra work required.
- Empowering - Promoting accountability and ownership.
Ultimately, successful systems are easy to use, automate administrative tasks, and drive the inherent cycle of Operational Excellence.
An intuitive system that helps operators provide rich data to supervisors without taking too much time away from the actual operation of the machines. This should include a digital forms platform that makes it easy for staff to document incidents and abnormalities. This can also include schedules for inspections and maintenance procedures. Learn more about Factory Monitoring here: https://weeverapps.com/data-collection/
Rewards and incentives go a long way to ensure staff make the extra effort required. Accessible reports showing KPI progress and celebrating “wins” helps to intrinsically motivate. Learn more about Employee Engagement here: https://weeverapps.com/employee-engagement/
Whether top-down or bottom-up, managers require meaningful visibility into project status and timelines so that they can effectively manage their entire organizational improvement project “ecosystem”.
Project managers also need the ability to project manage, which includes the ability to assign projects and tasks, manage timelines, capture data and generate reports. Learn more about Project Management here: https://weeverapps.com/project-management/
Access to reports that show leading and trailing KPIs, Return on Investment (ROI) and other key metrics help to ensure all stakeholders are informed. Broadcasting positive results can have a massive impact on the engagement of employees. Learn more about Reporting here: https://weeverapps.com/reporting/
When a project is completed successfully, a change to a process generally needs to be managed. The change needs to be documented and approved by managers. Then the affected staff need to be made aware of the change to the process before it’s effective date. Finally, in many cases, the factory monitoring process needs to be updated to ensure the process is compliant to the new documentation.
Learn more about Change Management here: https://weeverapps.com/change-management/