Mark Rehn
December 11, 2018

It’s Time for SMBs to implement Operational Excellence themselves

Mark Rehn has written an article on his 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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It’s Time for SMBs to implement Operational Excellence themselves

We know that when implemented properly, a well-crafted approach to implementing full end-to-end operational excellence based on ‘lean’ thinking yields immense net benefits for any SMB. That's the good news. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 



The bad news is that less than 1% of SMBs are actually doing it. Sadly, the vast majority of operational excellence commentary is focused on larger businesses - and that doesn’t help!    


My concern has long been for the other 99% of SMBs. When asked why they are NOT actively implementing operational excellence in a well-structured approach, SMB CEOs usually respond with one or more comments along the following lines...


  • “Don't really know what would be involved”

  • “Thought it was more for big companies like Toyota, Coca Cola or General Electric - not a small company like ours”

  • “Can't afford the costs of the associated consulting assistance”

  • “Don’t have the staff resources (IT; HR) of large companies to help drive the implementation”


This widespread non-awareness and non-participation represents a huge handicap for individual SMBs as well as for every national economy. Much more damage is caused by this than having too much regulatory control, too much corporate tax or poor industrial relations.



 We need a pragmatic solution that overcomes all of the above 4 common excuses cited by CEOs.

Research Report: It’s Time for SMBs to implement Operational Excellence themselves

Having advised more than 1,000 companies over the past 37 years and conducted over 300 half-day group sessions with the CEOs of SMBs, it became clear to me years ago that the SMB solution for operational excellence must have several features...


  1. Be consistent with the proven global frameworks for operational / business excellence and criteria for success

  2. NOT need a comprehensive up-front assessment of the business before real implementation starts

  3. NOT need a lot of external consulting assistance

  4. Provide detailed step-by-step 'How To' instructions for the way forward

  5. Sequence things in the right order for maximum impact and early wins

  6. Integrate everything for maximum impact

  7. Be led from the top

  8. Progressively build sound leadership and management of cultural change

  9. Simplify the approach and use a simple, common language that every employee can understand

  10. Generate ‘Quick Wins’ to gain the confidence and trust of line managers

  11. Involve all employees working to some extent ON the business via their own local processes

  12. Enable key business processes with the right technology

  13. Ensure accountability for critical individual and collective actions

  14. Visually track the resultant business impacts every month via the right Strategic KPIs and the right Operational KPIs - plus quantification of net benefits for all process improvement projects

  15. Be available via the Internet at far lower cost than the traditional consulting-led alternative



Simple, Integrated, Sequenced 

Such a Simple, Integrated, Sequenced solution has been developed exclusively for SMBs over the past 7 years and is now readily available. The governing framework is as follows:


 Governing Framework

The numbered implementation sequence of these 5 prerequisites is critical to avoid sub-optimal outcomes. Every prerequisite requires both external and internal Customer Focus.


We have found that this pragmatic ‘learn by doing’ approach yields better results far faster than the traditional consultant-led approach that first involves awareness training followed by assessment of the business against Operational Excellence criteria followed by targeted project-by-project implementations. That traditional approach is far more complex, takes far longer to get results and does NOT result in fully integrated outcomes across the business.





Completed case studies from around the globe demonstrate that typical benefits one can expect from rigorous implementation of full operational excellence are as follows:


  • Business revenue doubling every 3 years or so

  • Benefit to Cost ratio >> 5:1 for completed process improvement projects

  • Overall productivity gain of 25% - 35% over 5 years

  • Net financial benefits over 5 years accruing to at least 22.5% of this year's total Sales revenue. This is too big for any business CEO to ignore!


What’s not to like? It can be done provided the Board, the full Management Team and other employees commit to making it happen by following the detailed roadmap and instructions from Day 1. It's time to radically change the way we do things in our SMBs if we are to overcome the malaise of only 1% market penetration of proven Operational Excellence techniques. Learn more >


Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Research Report: It’s Time for SMBs to implement Operational Excellence themselves

About the Author

Mark Rehn: Research Report: It’s Time for SMBs to implement Operational Excellence themselvesMark Rehn
Creator, My Business Excellence on-line platform for SMEs / SMBs

Over the past 37 years Mark has worked with more than 1,000 SME / SMB clients helping them implement what the world now refers to as "Business Excellence" techniques. For two decades he has been a regular guest speaker on how best to implement Business Excellence at the Mt Eliza Centre for Executive Education, with the international network of CEOs known as The Executive Connection (TEC) and more recently with the Leadership Thinktank and The CEO Institute. Check out his LinkedIn page.

Mark has been awarded TEC's Speaker of the Year several times and has won the Mick Robertson Award for delivering the most value to participating businesses.

In spite of his personal successes as a high profile speaker and consultant, Mark remains frustrated over the inability of the global management consulting profession to help SME clients reap the benefits of business excellence at reasonable cost. He envisages a world where the CEO has an entire business system that just works, with strategic plans being delivered in full and improving business performance being tracked visually every month against the right key performance indicators. And continuous process improvements in the business yielding massive net savings.

Mark enjoys seeing his clients apply his proven techniques and achieving results far in excess of their expectations. He has recently codified his entire consulting methodology in great detail and made it available as a commercial, largely DIY on-line platform at the lowest possible subscription cost. Mark now hopes to effect a substantial increase in the current poor 1% or so of SMEs reaping the immense net benefits of these exciting, proven techniques. 



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 Awardswhich 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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