Bart Reijs
February 24, 2020

Operational Excellence- Time to eat our own dog food

Bart Reijs 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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Operational Excellence- Time to eat our own dog food

Need for Operational Excellence

We are in the age of Customer Delight, according to Vijay Bajaj, CEO, BTOES Insights, in the opening of this BTOES Insights report “The global state of operational excellence”. Customers “now expect every organization to deliver products and services swiftly, with a seamless user experience.”. To meet the higher and constantly increasing customer expectations organizations must perform at highest levels of responsiveness, under cost pressures, while delivering superior quality products. Above that the products need to be upgraded and improved within constantly shortened life cycles. The need for Operational Excellence seems clearer than it ever has been. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 


With this, one would expect that Operational Excellence would be in high demand. That it should be in focus and considered as the key to success. That all organizations are turning to Operational Excellence as a logical response to the quest to enchant steadily more demanding customers. However, when reading the BTOES report, a totally different picture arises. Changing & improving the company culture is listed as the major critical challenge. All, but one, major challenges of Operational Excellence listed are linked to or dominated by internal organizational struggles instead of the outward pull to exceed customer service. The report clearly brings forward that Operational Excellence is not as fully embraced as one would expect. It is not understood as an answer to great challenges most organization, globally, are faced with. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.




So why does operational excellence struggle to get traction, when the circumstances seem so ideal for it to thrive?

In an attempt to answer this, let’s consider Operational Excellence itself as product, or service. Does our product perform along the expectations stated by Vijay. Is our service seamless? Did Opex in 2018 delight our internal customers? Do we succeed to give our colleagues and management an experience 10 times lighter than before? Even when a majority of the surveyed state that the methodologies are growing in popularity the report results sound far from excited and buzzed. 35.6% of respondents cited a top critical challenge is executing sustainable Operational Excellence projects. Not exactly a show of flawless execution and delivery. Then almost a quarter of those responding see a lack of leadership understanding and buy-in. Not a reflection of customer delight.

Out of the BTOES 2018 report speaks little or no customer delight. On the other side, many of the responses sound defensive and not customer oriented. “Lack of Leadership”, “our senior leaders are very hesitant” and the sorts, sounds somewhat like the attitude that drove Borders, Blockbuster and many of those others out of business. The organization and its culture must change, not us!

Basically our major challenge, with 53.5%, translates to the fact that our internal customers don’t like or struggle to understand the importance and the potential of our product. If Opex would feel 10 times lighter than business as usual, why would we need change management programs and need to worry about leadership buy in?




The sentiment of the report reflects an uphill battle, and a tiresome struggle to be recognized.

A struggle that is reflected by the proposed measures of our success such as copQ, coNQ, coGs, turnover, cost savings, synergies realized or even “no injuries”. Delight feels very much different. Instead shouldn’t our success feel like the Associate Director - Video Operations stated: our primary measure of success as “an employee's desire to come to work each day.”. Wouldn’t increased sales, repeat sales or other quoted measurements like STP-rates follow from that, rather than from change management programs learning people to value our work? Or worse, from putting our colleagues through the over-engineered design thinking workshops? These show how little we understand what the organization does and what makes a real difference. Like a delightful product would.


Operational Excellence- Time to eat our own dog food




Opex should in these times be a factor that excites and attracts the best talent.

Because it has the potential to make work more enjoyable. It has the ability to give back the belief that our jobs are secure, instead of being just another cost savings program that increases work load and job pressures. The companies, which apply it, should see this reflected in valuation and stock price. An effect Lean Six Sigma during a short period of time was able to establish.

We need to get better in getting across the potential of the operational excellence. Instead of wanting people and cultures to change, we should make our concepts clear, attractive and compelling. Translate it in understandable irresistible concepts. “Leaders know we need it but don't understand what "it" is and how to execute "it".” says way more about OPEX’s lack of getting its value across than the lack of leadership support.




Make OpEx a lighter experience

In order to create this we need to make OPEX this seamless experience. Make it 10% a lighter experience than improvement projects so far. And make sure the OPEX projects are executable and sustainable; that is on us. Let’s make our own product as attractive as the products we are set out to support. The foundation of this is to understand what delight looks like. A deep insight is needed into the reality of our customers and what their needs are. For that we must not only master our methods and techniques but also truly understand what challenges and moves our internal clients.

Therewith let’s ensure that next year’s main challenges in the BTOES survey are client focused on items. Challenges for which OPEX is set up to control. Instead of focusing on perceived stumble blocks from outside players. If 53.6% note as the main challenge that they have more demand and expectation than we can handle, we will be on the right way.

Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Operational Excellence- Time to eat our own dog food


About the Author 

Bart Reijs: Operational Excellence- Time to eat our own dog foodBart Reijs

Head Process Management and Analysis, Roche

Bart has more than 20 years of international experience in data generation technology, processing and analytics. Since early 90’s he was involved in application of generic algorithms and intelligent agent systems, since 2001 he is focusing on clinical data and analytics. 

He led more IT and Change Management Projects as well as leading global groups, the past 15 years within both pharma and diagnostics. Business owner of multiple IT systems.

He is a Lean practitioner with Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification. Check out hi LinkedIn.


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,

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