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The Global State of Operational Excellence:
Critical Challenges & Future Trends

130 pages of the most comprehensive study of critical challenges and future trends within Operational Excellence.



A-Z Of the Main Principles of Operational Excellence

Welcome to our A-Z of the main guiding principles of Operational Excellence. Click a link below for a full description of the principle/definition. If you'd like to submit a definition of your own, please click here.


Agile & Agility


What's the difference between Agile and Agility? Our contributor Andrew S. McCune states the following:

"What do these two words mean? A quick check in on the definition of these words.

agile, adjective, English: 1. marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace <an agile dancer> 2. having a quick resourceful and adaptable character, <an agile mind>

agility, noun, English: 1. the quality or state of being agile, nimbleness, dexterity. <A gymnast whose agility on the parallel bars has won several medals>

Read more about Agile vs. Agility in Operational Excellence

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence, or BI, refers to technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information, with the intention of supporting Better Decision Making.

Read more about Business Intelligence and Operational Excellence

Change Management

Change Management (CM) refers to any approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations using methods intended to re-direct the use of resources, business process, budget allocations, or other modes of operation that significantly reshape a company or organization. More and more, these processes are being integrated into achieving the goal of embedding a Culture of Operational Excellence within organizations, and are understood as a cornerstone of the Continuous Improvement journey.  

Read more about Change Management as an Operational Excellence Principle


Customer Experience Excellence

For companies practising Operational Excellence, there is a fine line to walk between streamlining to maximise efficiency, and quality of the product/service - a key example of this would be in the case of areas such as Customer Experience. 

Simply put, the 'Customer Experience' marks the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.

Read more about Customer Experience & Operational Excellence Principles

Operational Excellence principles & definitions 

Culture Transformation in Operational Excellence

Corporate culture is the collection of values, visions, missions, and day-to-day aspects of communication and operational goals that create the atmosphere that permeates and determines how employees work in their organization.

Read more about the Operational Excellence Principle of Culture TransformationC

Gemba: Definitions and tools

Gemba (現場, also spelt less commonly as genba) is a japanese term meaning "the real place." Japanese police could refer to a crime scene as gemba, and TV reporters often refer to themselves as reporting live from gemba. 

Read more about the Gemba Principles


Hoshin Planning

More and more, innovation is becoming a necessary component of all Operational Excellence-focused Organizations. As with Agile, Innovation and a solid strategy for encouraging it allows companies to continuously adapt and change, rather than stagnating in the mid-range alongside their competitors.

Read more about Innovation Excellence


Jidoka & Operational Excellence

The Toyota Production system was a major precursor of Lean Manufacturing, founded on two conceptual pillars: 'Just-in-time' and 'Jidoka'. Jidoka, otherwise known as  Automation with a Human Touch, was first built off the approach created by the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda and his son, Kiichiro Toyoda.

Full definition of Jidoka

Kaizen as a key principle of Operational Excellence

Kaizen in Operational Excellence

One of the most important tenets of kaizen is that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time. Continuous, incremental changes that take at every level from the shop floor to the c-level are credited for the success of Kaizen 'events'.

READ MORE: Our Top 10 Kaizen Books 

Read more about Kaizen as an Operational Excellence Principle



Whilst there is no single definition of Lean Methodology, there are a number of key tools, concepts and principles that can round out our view of Lean process, production and thinking:


Operational Excellence

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.

Read more about the core principles of Operational Excellence

Our Main Principles of Operational Excellence


Performance Excellence

According to the 'Baldridge Glossary' (2002) “the term ‘performance excellence’ refers to an integrated approach to organizational performance management that results in the three following outcomes:

1. Delivery of ever-improving value, to customers and stakeholders, that contribute directly  to organizational sustainability;

2. Improvement of overall organizational effectiveness and capabilities

3. Organizational and personal learning.

Read more about Performance Excellence in Operational Excellence


Process Architecture: Definitions and Examples

Process Architecture is essentially a commonly understood, shared view of all the business processes that an organization may carry out in order to deliver a product or service to their customers and clients. As business capabilities expand and demands change, processes can become overly complex, garbled or disorganized as they are re-jigged and edited - the nature of a strong process architecture is to ensure these processes remain at their optimal state.

Read more about Process Architecture & Operational Excellence


Process Excellence vs. Operational Excellence

Process Excellence is often confused with Operational Excellence - in fact, many online sources will conflate the two to the point that finding a seperate definition for Process Excellence can sometimes seem impossible. However, Process Excellence, as the name suggests, can be defined as focusing more heavily on the analytical, strategic aspects of Operational Excellence.

ARTICLE: What will Process Excellence look like in 2025?

Read more about Process Excellence


RAPID Decision Making

RAPID is a decision-making tool designed to help leaders get questions answered, and provide solid conclusions to discussions. This is done by mapping out every stage of the decision making proccess and identifying what is required for a final decision to be made, and made well.

Read more about RAPID

Operational Excellence Decision Making Principles


Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation is transforming how companies maximise their efficiency across all industries. Using AI robots and software, businesses are able to replicate the behaviours of a human worker with a near 0% defect rate. However, for companies practising Operational Excellence, there is a fine line to walk between streamlining to maximise efficiency, and quality of the product/service - for example,  in the case of areas such asCustomer Experience

Read more about Robotic Process Automation

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