8 Best Practices For Achieving Operational Excellence



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Operational Excellence (OpEx) promotes consistent learning and improvement through the entire organisation, whilst the structure of the system ensures that these improvements are aligned towards achieving the organisations strategic objectives.
UK Strategy
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Operational Excellence (OpEx) promotes consistent learning and improvement through the entire organisation, whilst the structure of the system ensures that these improvements are aligned towards achieving the organisations strategic objectives.

Achieving operational excellence involves identifying areas for improvement and implementing strategies to drive long-term sustainable growth. Engagement of employees is at the heart of this approach and is the key to its success. It is about building engagement throughout the business to drive performance. Without this, operational improvement will not be sustainable.

The process can help businesses reach targets in cost, quality, customer service and more. It can also be used to create a culture of continuous improvement and can ensure that an organisation is able to respond quickly to changing market conditions and customer demands.

An OpEx system provides a framework for improving and sustaining the performance of an organisation, but what is involved is likely to look different for different businesses. When it comes to developing a strategy to achieve operational excellence, it's important to explore and analyse the current operating strategy, considering both people and processes, when identifying improvements.

Here we look at some best practices that can help with operational excellence.

1 Develop Operational Standards

Operational standards refer to a documented set of practices and processes that define the way an organisation carries out its operations. These standards help ensure that processes are carried out efficiently, accurately, and consistently across different teams and departments. Operational standards can include anything from safety protocols, quality control measures, customer service benchmarks, documentation guidelines and more.

2 Establish Operational Metrics and KPIs

All businesses know the importance of setting operational KPIs to help drive performance. Once you have developed your operational standards, you can use them to inform the metrics and KPIs you should be tracking. This will help to measure if the standards are being met, and also ensures you are collecting the data you need to inform your ongoing strategy.

3 Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Culture can have a huge bearing on the success of an initiative in a business. It will be easier for a business to embrace change when they've created an environment that encourages employees to take ownership of their roles, encourages collaboration and feedback among teams, promotes problem solving, welcomes new ideas and rewards progress.

4 Regularly review performance and Identify Areas for Improvement

By regularly reviewing and benchmarking performance against operational KPIs, businesses can track progress and ensure goals are met efficiently and effectively. This helps to identify any areas for improvement or potential problems that need addressing.

5 Streamline Business Processes

Streamlining business processes can help businesses save time and money, improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction and reduce operational costs. This involves identifying unnecessary steps in a workflow and removing or consolidating them to create a more efficient process. For example, automating repetitive tasks such as data entry or using technology to reduce manual processes.

6 Implement and Standardise Problem-Solving Techniques

Problem solving techniques help to identify potential problems, analyse their causes and solutions, and then decide on the best course of action. One common technique is the use of root cause analysis (RCA), which involves breaking down a problem into its component parts to identify what caused it in the first place, giving you more data to help support you as you develop a solution.

Data is key to effective problem solving, as it allows your organisation to make faster and more reliable decisions.

7 Invest in Employee Training and Development

Investing in employee training and development is a key factor in achieving operational excellence. It helps to ensure that your employees are well-equipped to carry out their roles efficiently, accurately, and consistently.

Moreover, providing comprehensive training programs helps retain top talent by creating an environment where employees feel valued and appreciated.

8 Utilise Automation and other Technologies Where Possible

Utilising automation and other technologies can help to achieve operational excellence by reducing manual labour, improving accuracy and efficiency, and allowing businesses to make decisions faster. With the right technology in place, it's possible to automate more processes and workflows, resulting in cost savings while still maintaining high levels of quality.

Operational Excellence Benefits

The benefits of embedding operational excellence into an organisation include;

  • Aligning the business to the strategic goals and drive a step change in performance
  • Engaging the whole organisation to understand their role in delivering the business strategy
  • Increasing bottom line benefits through incremental improvements in efficiency and cost reduction
  • Creating the structures to drive improvement by engaging the workforce to design the system and empowering them to own the solution
  • Encouraging a learning culture where employees are equipped with the tools and techniques to identify and solve problems
  • Development of a visual organisation and the creation a culture of continuous improvement

How can we help?

Are you working to achieve operational excellence in your organisation?

As well as ensuring you're meeting best practices, our experts can help you with a structured, integrated approach to achieving operational excellence.

You can learn more about our operational excellence services here or get in touch to find out how we can support your business.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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