Kaushal Mehta
December 16, 2018

Key OpEx Drivers and How to leverage them

Kaushal Mehta 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.


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Key OpEx Drivers and How to leverage them

We find ourselves in a world very different from what it was a decade ago. What’s more, coming years are going to make the way we do business completely unrecognisable. This change will be led by disruptive technological advances and radical business models giving rise to a more digitally interconnected business environment and individuals. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.

More and more organisations are waking up to this brave new world and are grappling with ways to rush ahead of competition. It will be vital for quality professionals to understand the plethora of challenges which the organisation will face on this journey and available approaches to effectively manage this evolution.

Bienvenue à VUCA world!!!

A closer look at the findings of the Research Report, which makes a dedicated effort to crystal gaze into this VUCA world a few years from now, shows an interesting dichotomy. While some of the challenges cited by participants are results of more recent flux in business, technological, demographical and social ambit, there are few challenges which have been around since Quality Management and Operational Excellence movement took shape. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 

It is imperative to look at these critical challenges and future trends closely to identify Key Drivers from an OpEx perspective.


Key OpEx Drivers and How to leverage them




OpEx efforts always place customers at the centre. In coming years, expect organisation’s delivery systems to be stretched to the maximum while it attempts to align with rapidly evolving customer needs – be it increased product / service customisation, faster TATs or JIT requirements. With future “interconnectedness” driven by cutting edge technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud computing and Blockchain, the organisation will be listening continuously to customer needs. Effectively harnessing additive manufacturing and self-learning robots will help drive innovation in product / service delivery systems and meet customer’s requirements effectively.


With more options available to customers – often from unexpected competitors (e.g. Uber  driven mobility impacting new car sales) – what will be critical is looking at customer experience (CX) in entirety. The companies which make effort to simplify their processes –especially the customer facing touch-points and User Interfaces – will be able to differentiate themselves in a disruptive market.





In a seeming paradox, technology will be posing new challenges but will also provide unexpected, unimagined solutions. While in past decades OpEx professionals were focussing on making assembly lines lean, coming years will need concentrated attention on making data creation, storage, curation and retrieval lean. Add to this even increasing number of companies which are turning into “software” companies with even critical functions of their physical products governed by installed software generating continuous data streams – just waiting to be tapped.

Key OpEx Drivers and How to leverage them

While Artificial Intelligence and other Automation solutions will be tried by more and more companies, those involved in improvement effort must understand that automation is not a magic bullet and must be deployed judiciously.





With smartphones users reaching billions and IoT sensors merging effortlessly into everyday appliances, the challenge has moved from data scarcity to data abundance. While data is being touted as new Oil, it will be as useless till it is refined into actionable information. Bleeding edge Artificial Intelligence streams like NLP, machine learning and deep learning will re-write the rules in data handling and winner will be one who can handle a torrent of unstructured and structured data and convert that data into actionable information. Moreover, concepts like digital Five S will need to be designed & developed to help organisations store and retrieve relevant data items out of petabytes of data.

Another game-changer will be democratized access to information combined with flexibility available in consuming this information. More and more individuals and organisations will leverage this information to take faster and more informed decisions.





The operating / business environment is slowly but surely getting more rigorously regulated. Regulators across the globe have been taking increasingly strong steps which impact the way a business operates in a major way – case in point being recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rolled out in EU. Another sensitive area is Environment – while concern for impact on climate change and carbon footprint is not new, it has gradually given shape to much more proactive and far-reaching directions from national and international regulatory bodies. OpEx professionals must partner with SMEs to align internal compliance systems and mitigate this increased compliance risk with continuous gap analysis of existing processes supported by improvement interventions.

One risk management response is risk sharing – this paradigm is giving rise to new business models often leveraging digital platforms e.g. outsourcing certain compliance-intensive activities related to labour laws to specialised firms.





In agile scheme of things, the focus will be on doing things together and collaborate more. OpEx Professionals will need to develop capability to unlearn what they have learned and relearn new concepts, skills and techniques at various stages to remain relevant – key ones being Data analytics, Agile Deployment and Platform way of working. Professionals who are able to do this will find themselves ready for new breed of roles expected in next decade.


Organisations wanting to thrive in a dynamic business environment will also provide an able environment to fail fast and learn fast, drive innovation and foster entrepreneurial spirit amongst their employees.


AI will shake up the job market with a rapidly growing footprint. OpEx practitioners will need to reskill themselves and focus on what AI can’t do in foreseeable future. Good example is the need for empathy and high degree of understanding of what customer is going through when he comes up with a problem. The message is clear - leverage AI – don’t get bogged down. Learning to partner with virtual, digital workforce and complementing its new capabilities will be a key requirement from OpEx professionals.





The research report points to very exciting times ahead. It is upto us OpEx professionals to acknowledge challenges, identify new opportunities and leverage our capabilities to thrive in VUCA world. As in the past, am sure we will do it with aplomb and confidence.

Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Key OpEx Drivers and How to leverage them


About the Author 

Kaushal Mehta: Key OpEx Drivers and How to leverage themKausal Mehta

Vice President & Head, Central RMS, Reliance Industries Ltd.

Kaushal Mehta is an experienced Banking and Quality Professional with a demonstrated expertise of design and deployment of Quality and Governance frameworks in the Banking and Oil & Energy industries. Skilled in Change Management, Business Transformation, Risk Management, DMAIC, Quality Management. Strong experience backed by industry standard professional certifications - CAIIB, Six Sigma Master Black Belt, ASQ CSSBB, CMQ/OE. Check out his 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.


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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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