Marta Ventosa
September 25, 2019

How to implant an Operational Excellence Culture and not die trying

Marta Ventosa has written an article on her interpretation of the Global State of Operational Excellence Survey Report - Critical Challenges & Future Trends - 2018/2019.  Click here to download the full Survey Report 2018/19.  

The Most Comprehensive Study of Critical Challenges and Future Trends within Operational Excellence

With nearly 1000 respondents, 37 insightful questions, detailed analysis & insights from 40 industry thought leaders, and the BTOES Insights executive team, this 130 page report is recognised as the most comprehensive study of critical challenges and future trends within Operational Excellence, and is considered a key resource for the industry. Areas covered include:

  • The Critical Operational Excellence Challenges faced by executives.

  • The Current Scope of Operational Excellence.

  • How is Operational Excellence success measured?

  • Key Findings & Roadblocks.

  • What are executives focusing on over the next 12-18 months?

  • What have been the greatest developments?

  • What are the key drivers pushing change in Operational Excellence?

  • Industry Perspectives.

  • Small, Medium & Large Corporation Perspectives.

  • Detail Analysis & Insights from BTOES Insights Executive Team.

  • Detailed Analysis & Insights from 40 Industry Thought Leaders.

  • Analysis of key themes, including Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding.


Research report front cover


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pillar%20page%20line%201How to implant an Operational Excellence Culture and not die trying

For over 10 years I have been helping companies improve their operational processes and the biggest struggle they face is keeping the Cultural Change going. As a teacher I always explain to my students that they must learn how to recognize unnecessary waste in their processes by learning how to put on the “OPEX GLASSES”. So this is how we shall start this Article: first, I will describe the 7 most common mistakes; and second, we will discuss the 10 key factors to a successful change. No matter how big or small your company is, whether you sell products or services, these apply to you. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 


Below are the most common mistakes you can identify in your organization. Once identified, you can work to avoid or correct them.

1. PARADIGMS: you are going to find paradigms throughout your company, no matter how old or how big your company is. They include old ways of working, unquestionable habits, closed minds or just fears for something new.


2. PEOPLE: one of the most common forms of resistance to change is people; they often see OPEX as a way to get rid of people. We need to look carefully at all 3 hierarchical levels:

    • MANAGEMENT: this is one of the most important barriers, if there is a lack of leadership or support at this level, no change is possible
    • MIDDLE MANAGEMENT: they are the change motor, without their support and leadership it is difficult to engage the rest of the organization
    • TEAM: without the right management, the organization looks at the change with fear and distrust, people are key for change, to hear news through office gossip is dangerous

3. COMMUNICATION: lack of communication is a feature in all my projects, top to bottom and from the bottom up. When a team comes up with an improvement idea, I always hear: “I said this many times before and nobody listened”

How to implant an Operational Excellence Culture and not die trying

4. WHERE IS THE PLAN?: most of the time, efficiency comes from trying to implement a LEAN tool: 5S, SMED,…Without a plan, a Kaizen Event or a tool application will be just that, with isolated results, minimal people involved and short-term benefits

Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19. 

5. NO OPEX CULTURE: if there are not maintenance mechanisms, we can initially invest a lot, lots of efforts, lot of time, lots of training hours,… however, it will no be possible to maintain OPEX philosophy


6. WE WANT TO BE TOYOTA: every company, every sector, every team, every country,…is different. OPEX is flexible, it is just a guide, we can get inspired by big companies but they are not our aim


7. LACK OF COSTUMER FOCUS – NOT LISTENING TO THE CLIENT: we forget about getting rid of activities that do not add value to our clients (external and internal ones)

    • Double packaging when the client is in a hurry to unpack it
    • Piece by piece quality control when our client has a high tolerance to defects
    • Launching a new product when there is no demand…




Now you know how to recognise common mistakes, next you need to know what can you do to achieve a permanent OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE CULTURE.


How to implant an Operational Excellence Culture and not die trying


1. MANAGEMENT: the principal pillar is to have active support from MANAGEMENT by being part of the Committees as any other area.
2. PLAN: create a transformation and a deployment plan, always aligned with the Company strategy. Road-map in 2 big levels:
    • Mid-Long Term, you need to answer the following questions: “Where do we want to be?”, “What do we want to achieve?”, ”What are our objectives?”, “What is the budget for investments?”
    • Short Term, drawing the path to follow: “Who is leading?”, “What mechanisms, training and marketing campaigns?”, “What is our pilot?”…


3. INTERNAL LEADER: it is important to have an expert who can lead and create motivation and engagement.


4. KPIs & OBJECTIVES: it is essential to establish these. To set achievable goals, to keep them up to date and share them with management boards and at meetings. It is highly important that at least one of these reflects the impact of the improvement on the business results: e.g. ROI, cost reduction, sales, etc.


5. INTERNAL MARKETING: start a campaign with Visual Management including standards, teams, before and after photos,…some examples:

    • A3 tool is really good to demonstrate a team’s work
    • Some Merchandising like pens or t-shirts with a catchy motto, e.g. “OPEX GOAL!”
    • Coffee with the CEO to engage communication from the bottom-up


6. Communication and involvement of the WHOLE organization, PEOPLE must be trained and have the opportunity to be part of a team. We need to create a new MINDSET and organize MULTI-TEAMS


7. TRAINING at every single level according to an established plan, must be part of the Company’s TRAINING plan. Always important to keep in mind LEARNING BY DOING.


8. KAIZEN & MAINTENANCE MECHANISMS must always be taken into account. A well-established Continuous Improvement Culture is key for the success and the sustainability of our competitive advantage. It is important that after any improvement project we create new standards and indicators to follow up and apply PDCA. Effective meetings are a great tool as well as Audits.


9. Never ever forget WHERE THINGS HAPPEN (“the GEMBA”), this is not about the theory based on interviews, we must see the process. In my first day in a job my boss told me to spend at least 1h per day just walking around the production site, warehouse or office just to observe what was going on. How many people in our companies have never stepped into the GEMBA!


10. Now it is time to start with a PILOT, you need to choose it based on the following:

    • Critical Process: look for it, the one everybody is talking about (in a bad way), I highly recommend the use of a prioritization matrix to be objective.
    • Quick Wins: focus on visual and quick results, a 5S in Maintenance Dpt., Archives, a long changeover, bureaucracy,…
    • Inch-wide & Mile-deep: scope must be under something manageable


Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
How to implant an Operational Excellence Culture and not die trying


About the Author 

Marta Ventosa: How to implant an Operational Excellence Culture and not die tryingMarta Ventosa

Founder, The Lean Level

Marta is a Process Improvement & Change Motivator, Trainer and Mentor. She is an engineer with more than 12 years of experience implementing change and efficiency for various clients e.g HP, Vueling, ADP, Coca-Cola,...

As the founder of TheLeanLevel her goal is to help companies and people to succeed on the road to LEAN implementation. Check out her LinkedIn page.


The issues in this article are just one of topic areas that are going to be discussed at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit & Industry (BTOES19). March 18-22, 2019, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort®

BTOES is the industry’s biggest and best, senior-level, cross-industry gathering of Business Transformation & Operational Excellence industry leaders and senior executives.

It also hosts the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Awards, which showcase globally the most outstanding organizational achievements through the application of Operational Excellence programs.

The summits hosts a number of private forums for C-Level & Global corporate-level leaders as well as business unit heads.

With over 150 speakers, over 100 sessions, 12 Keynotes, 9 Track Themes, 5 parallel tracks, 60+ track sessions, 50 roundtable discussions, 20 Interactive Workshops, 6 Thought Leader Panels, 5 Leaders Boardrooms, 5 co-located events, the Industry Awards Program, Site Visits, 20+ hours of social networking including 2 gala cocktail parties, dinners, numerous group activities, this is the ultimate event to benchmark, network and drive Operational Excellence to the next level.


Quick Links



BTOES19 Awards


There is a strong focus on Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding. We dedicated two tracks to advanced technologies, such as AI, Machine Learning, RPA, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud infrastructure etc.


The agenda is designed to encourage active meaningful conversations though all day enhanced networking and interaction opportunities, including

  • All-day Refreshment & Themed Breaks

  • 1¼ Hour Hot Breakfast Networking Sessions

  • 1½ Hour Hot Plated Networking Lunches with Topic & Industry Sector focussed tables

  • 1½ Hour Roundtable Sessions by Topic & Industry Sector.

  • Keynote & Themes Panel Sessions

  • Hosted Welcome Receptions from 5.30pm

  • Expanded more lavish Awards Program

  • Newly launched Night Summit for attendees to meet after dinner

For more information or to discuss the summit in more detail please schedule a call below,

Click here to schedule a call. 


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