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5 Phases to Operational Excellence

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Business process improvement: 5 phases to Operational Excellence

Markets are becoming more & more competitive! Global economy is in a bad shape! Organizations are finding it difficult to run business the way it was being run in past. Each & every organization wants to attain BUSINESS EXCELLENCE.

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But how?

Improve or Perish is the harsh reality for the businesses now!

But how to improve is a big question. There are number of tools & techniques like KAIZEN, Lean, Six Sigma, TQM etc that are staggering out there. Where should one begin? What should one believe?  Organizations need a continual improvement methodology that can help them to have competitive advantage. Markets are now demanding greater attention to cutting down on cost. Cost cutting brought about by operational efficiencies is how the game must be played to ensure a sustainable growth.

Where & How should we begin?

Since there is a space for continual improvement its not simply a buzzword or a faddish management mandate. But again the question is how should we begin? Organizations are too complex and there are many processes. So how to map – measure – improve the processes? But what is important is to understand that we cannot target all processes at one shot. What one should understand & do is that try & build continual improvement work culture wherein the employees are committed to monitoring and improving the way they perform their work. Therefore there has to be a Vision to improve, Required skills, and a Roadmap for operational excellence.

Now coming to the question of How to begin? To cater to such question we have developed a model called as 5 phases to Operational Excellence. It says that Operational Excellence (OE) is moving from TOOLS to TRANSFORMATION. It starts with building belief in the OE Journey & continues with Daily Work Management for Sustenance. Following are the five phases:

  1. Conclave: The objective of this is to get the top management of the organization onto a common page and understanding about Operational Excellence (OE) – this builds belief and helps set a shared goal that needs to be achieved along the OE journey.
  2. Roadmap: No journey starts without a Road Map! Two points needs to be identified, Current State & a Desired State, the assessment does precisely this & results into a OE Road Map
  3. Training: It is all about People! People! People! – Skill them to drive improvements and sustain them. Our training & certification helps in the implementation of OE smoothly. They will be trained on the OE/ Lean/ KAIZEN foundations, Total Productive Maintenance, Total Flow Management, and rest of the required OE elements
  4. Do (Implement): The Gemba Kaizen Workshop (GKW) is our unique delivery method – it is rooted in the ‘learning by doing’ principle to internalize the Kaizen/ LEAN concepts while real time problems are tackled by the teams and tools to improve are applied
  5. Sustain: Improvements have to be sustained – how? Via regular health checks and deployment of DWM – Daily Work Management

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Above 5 steps broadly sums up a tools to transformation attempt in any organization.  One can follow all the five steps in sequence or even start with an intermediate step (depends on the current state of the OE journey in the organization – if any at all).

If you have reached so far you must have now got the process improvement framework which is enough to give you a feel or boost to initiate Operational Excellence journey. Since it’s a journey it never ends and therefore it becomes important to ingrain the tools & techniques used for transformation amongst the staff who are daily charged with performing the good work for the organization. They are the one who is going to drive the whole Continual Improvement journey.

To conclude

If one adopts the disciplined approach or method for continual improvement it will definitely provide positive results. What organization needs is a workforce genuinely focused on continual improvement – on making things better and in all places/department.

Author: Kaizen Institute - India!

Kaizen Institute – India is part of the Global Kaizen Institute operations. Kaizen Institute was established by Sensei Masaaki Imai, the GURU of Kaizen. He wrote the 1st book 28 yrs ago and that is when it all started . We operate in 30+ countries today and have over 400+ coaches helping more then 600 organizations Learn, Apply, Sustain – Kaizen/ Operational Excellence. In India we have two physical offices – Pune & Ahmedabad and 27 coaches in all.

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