Pranay Butala 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.
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So, how do we grow OE in light of change drivers?
The traditional OE methods are no longer valid. The days of using only a singular project based approach on leveraging OE methodologies for process improvement are gone at the way-side, in favor of a better, quicker, and more integrated holistic approach. And this to be expected, considering how silos between departments are quickly breaking down, how companies are leaning towards the agile approach to have a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) out the door, and how skills across the board are expanding from simply training to effectively leveraging trainings. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19.
So, how do we grow OE in light of these change drivers?
Graph 1: OE Evolutionary Curve
Let’s take a step back…Graph 1 depicts what I believe OE strives to drive strategically. We need to take our company from a basic concept of OE to the top end of the evolutionary curve where we’re using OE as a competitive advantage. In light of the current environment of quicker, more agile, and more integrated approaches, I believe we need to maintain this mantra on graph 1, and ascertain how we take and amend utilization, approach, and reach as we go up the evolutionary curve at each level. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.
How do we go from Level 1 to 2?
Let’s take the first state, Level 1, for example. How do we go from Level 1 to 2? This goes beyond the once and done trainings to now a more cultural change. Can we work with HR to promote OE as a skill one must have in career growth? For example, to go from a line employee to a team leader in Operations, one skillset must be LSS GB (or LSS BB). Should this be part of the HR matrix in career ladder growth within a function? Also, can we work with senior business leaders to have an OE goal in their departments ( this is usually easily done…cost reductions, customer satisfaction improvements, etc), and then identify personnel in their departments that would use OE to help drive those goals?
How do we go from Level 2 to 3?
Naturally, at this point, we transition from Level 2 to Level 3. This now goes outside just training colleagues on Lean Sigma, which is for all practical purposes, just Level 1, and setting OE goals, which is just level 2. Now, what if we work with senior leadership in each department to understand their metrics, and then trickle those down to the level of each colleague taking LSS trainings, where he/she would need to have those trickled-down metrics as part of their performance goals, and demonstrate leveraging OE to achieve it? Can we then have him/her provide evidence on a regular basis, maybe quarterly, which showcases how they’re effectively using OE to help drive those metrics bottom up?
Case and point: if a call center’s goal is to reduce costs, can that be trickled down to a metric like abandon rates (which are the number of calls not picked up, or dropped)? Then the colleagues in that call center that have taken LSS training need to have as part of their performance goal a metric tied to that abandon rate. He/she would need to demonstrate regularly what was done to reduce that number. How did he/she change a process, or find efficiencies, to help drive that goal? Can we then take that reduction in abandon rates, and tie it back to cost reduction? What we’ve done now is to effectively have colleagues take LSS and use it for their day-to-day work, all the while tying their outputs back to a department goal. Another example---going to the concept of MVP earlier:
An example would be the LSS trained colleagues in the Product department. Can they use OE to help do VoC for each MVP, or a customer journey map, that helps quickly gather inputs, drive those functional requirements, and place out a product iteration quickly? The tools and techniques they’ve learned as LSS trained colleagues can be now leveraged for a more dynamic environment, where the concepts of VoC are used at the front end of product development.
How do we go from Level 3 to 4?
Let’s now move to Level 4. These are transformative changes that drastically move the needle for the company. How do we leverage OE in these instances? For example: if our product is designed to be sold through intermediaries, for example mutual funds through RIAs (registered investment advisors) or insurance through brokers, what if we decide to sell also directly to individuals? Can OE help? A value stream map would quickly point out that there’s a gap in capabilities which we need to fill by either updating our technology user interfaces to make it easier to navigate, or that we need to change our sales approach by adding a marketing channel upfront that targets a B2C approach.
Go beyond Operational Excellence
In summary, business is now changing, and as OE professionals, we need to work with other departments and senior leaders to go beyond OE just in a project to a more flexible approach that can be used across the board, taking us through an evolutionary journey.
About the Author
Vice President, Strategy & Operations Transformation
Pranay is a proven strategic and results focused senior business leader. He has an outstanding reputation for driving growth, reducing costs, leading change, and customer retention. Experiences have been with top tier consulting firms (Deloitte, IBM, Accenture) and Fortune 500 companies (Pfizer, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, Guardian Life).
His Specialties are End-to-end operational model development and execution, Customer experience optimization, ROI optimization, Multi-channel marketing, Commercial Operations , Digital technology strategy and execution, Lean Sigma. Check out his LinkedIn page.
Industries: Pharma / Life Sciences / Health Care, Insurance, Strategic Consulting (C-level)
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