An introduction to the meaning of operational excellence


What is Operational Excellence? It is important we define it.

Operational Excellence is the execution of the business strategy more consistently and reliably than the competition, with lower operational risk, lower operating costs, and increased revenues relative to its competitor. It is needed more than ever is today’s technology driven rapidly changing business models, which require organizations to undergo end-to-end business transformation. Operational Excellence can also be viewed as execution excellence.

Some of the key process methodologies used are Lean Thinking, Six Sigma, Hoshin Planning, Balanced Scorecard etc.

However, the focus of Operational Excellence goes beyond the traditional continuous improvement methods to a long-term change in organizational culture. Companies in pursuit of Operational Excellence do two things significantly differently than other companies: they manage their business and operational processes systematically and invest in developing the right culture.

Operational Excellence manifests itself through integrated performance across revenue, cost, and risk. It focuses on meeting customer expectation through the continuous improvement of the operational processes and the culture of the organization. The goal is to develop one single, integrated enterprise level management system with ideal flow. The second component, a culture of Operational Discipline, is commonly described as doing the right thing, the right way, every time. This culture is built upon guiding principles of integrity, questioning attitude, always problem-solving, daily continuous improvement mind-set, level of knowledge, teamwork, and process driven.

What do others think Operational Excellence is?.

At heart, Operational Excellence is an element of organizational leadership that stresses the application of a numerous methodologies and tools, with a focus on the sustainable improvement of outstanding performance metrics.

Much of this management philosophy is based on earlier continuous improvement methodologies, such as Lean, Six Sigma, and the combined methodology of Lean Six Sigma. The focus of Operational Excellence goes beyond the traditional event-based model of improvement, toward a long-term change in organizational culture.

On this page, we have compiled a number of helpful resources to build your understanding of Operational Excellence, Continuous Improvement and Lean Six Sigma.

"Operational excellence is achieving and sustaining results that meet and exceed the expectations of all stakeholders."

- Richard Morris, VP Product Integration, BMW

The Myth of Continuous Improvement: Breaking the Lean Journey - Institute for Operational Excellence

"A statement from a college football coach that comes to mind. When asked to comment on the “extraordinary” last second play that won th

e game the coach responded that it was nothing special, they practice it every day. He said and extraordinary play is simply an ordinary play executed flawlessly and an extraordinary time."

- Ron Prince, VP Process Management, Macy's


Operational Excellence: Resources

Operational Excellence: What is it? Strategy, definitions and more

To get an idea of how Operational Excellence is perceived across a huge range of industries, take a look at our FREE 6 in 1 report series, 'Operational Excellence: Snapshots', featuring the thoughts of 150+ Operational Excellence Professionals, and targeting the most pressing issues in the ecosystem.

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Award-Winning Operational Excellence Case Studies

Download the free case studies now, or view the full list of award-winning Operational Excellence case studies, courtesy of the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit.

Award Winning Operational Excellence Case Study - Paccar Best Operational Excellence Award Winning Strategy - United Airlines  


What is Operational Excellence? Overviews & Introductions

What is Operational Excellence? - Institute for Operational Excellence

"To leverage operations to achieve business growth, the first step is to understand what Operational Excellence really is, and then how we achieve it.  Think of it as answering the question: Where will our journey of continuous improvement take us? A good answer is that our journey will take us to Operational Excellence, or the point at which —

Each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow before it breaks down.SM"

WATCH NOW: Kevin Duggan, Founder of the Institute for Operational Excellence, gives us his best definition of Operational Excellence & Operational Excellence Strategy.

Videos: Introductions to Operational Excellence

Operational Excellence 101 - Operational Excellence Consulting LLC


How to create a Culture of Operational Excellence - IndustryWeek TV

Further Reading

The Top 10 Operational Excellence Books

The Top 10 Operational Excellence Blogs

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