Joan Adams
December 18, 2018

One word: People

Joan Adams 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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Assignment:  In less than 500 words, describe the most important thing for successful operational improvement

Answer: People

Yay! I got under the word count!!



One word: People

Seriously – “People” is the answer.


A company can upgrade or buy new machines.  A business can map the flow of information, products and services, locate bottle necks, redundancies and other problems.  New and upgraded software can be introduced to seamlessly link multiple systems, reduce glitches and lessen manual input. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 


No matter all these capital improvements – ultimately humans touch everything and therefore drive the results.  Humans run the machines, perform the work, do the handoffs and input, run, and interpret the data. They even (gasp) interact with other humans.  Machines, software and work flow plans do none of these things. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.


Humans are tricky.  They won’t work 24/7 in a lights-out environment.  They don’t enjoy repetition. They don’t like change.  They “care”, ie they want respect, to take pride in their work, want to be heard and many are thinking about better ways to do things.  They want to participate, to be a part of something. People need reasons. Why are we doing this? What’s the goal? How is this going to affect me?  Machines don’t care or participate or have pride or need reasons.




Reasons, change and caring

The human traits of caring, the need for reasons and the desire to participate ho be part of ave any successful operational improvement program.  The program has to appeal to and work with human behavior. The change and improvement message must be clear and the company’s actions must back up the message.


1) Reasons: This can be fact-based and direct.  “Our company is hurting. We need to improve our operations going forward or there won’t be a company.”  This message explains why everyone and everything must change. It underscores urgency. It also states that this will be a long-term mission.


2) Change:  Everyone has to change and will need to keep on changing.  The company will support change; through training, teams, incentives, etc.  Continuous operational improvement is not a half-way affair. “Everyone” is the key – this includes management.  Change is not optional – those who won’t change will need to leave. For change to be good and work – it has to be everyone and participatory.


3) Caring:  Employees must care about what they do.  Change will save the company and jobs, it will make those jobs more rewarding.  The company shows it values employees by investing in the employees. This strengthens employee loyalty and make the employee feel like part of the process.




Appreciating the human side of operations improvement and change will make the difference.  When all employees understand and embrace change and the company mandates and supports change from top to bottom – the change will be effective, on-going and in the long term - successful.

Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
One word:  People


About the Author 

Joan Adams: One word:  PeopleJoan Adams

Lean Consultant, Pierian

She works with small and medium sized business to help them grow.

"First we analyse the company by the numbers. We look at revenue streams, costs, pricing, the overall strategy of the company. We look at their products, their customers, their suppliers, their market, the competition, etc. Where are they losing money? Where are they making money?

Second we work on cutting costs by improving their operations using "Lean thinking". Check out her LinkedIn page.

Third, we work on increasing their revenues by selling more product to existing customers, right pricing, increasing their market (geographic, demographic), developing new products and services"

Specialties: Certified to teach Lean manufacturing, Marketing for Industrial companies, Business Process Improvement, Operations Improvement, Leadership Training, Competitive Business strategy, International Market entry strategy, overall management consulting


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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