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What are the 10 Core Principles of Operational Excellence?

Operational excellence is a strategic mindset and approach that focuses on continuously improving business operations to achieve superior performance. It involves optimising processes, reducing waste, enhancing productivity, and aligning all aspects of an organisation to deliver value to customers, employees and stakeholders.

How does operational excellent work?

Operational excellence encompasses various principles, methodologies and tools that are aimed at streamlining operations and maximising efficiency. It emphasises a holistic view of the organisation, encompassing people, processes, technology and systems, which means that even the smallest details play a big role. The ultimate goal of operational excellence is to create a culture of continuous improvement, where everyone in the organisation is engaged in finding better ways of working and driving sustainable growth.

The core principles of OpEx

Operational excellence covers a wide range of practices. To give you a feel for what needs to be done in order to become a leader in your sector, below are ten core principles of OpEx.

Customer focus: Placing the customer at the centre of all operations and continuously striving to understand and exceed their expectations.

Continuous improvement: Emphasising a culture of ongoing improvement by constantly seeking opportunities for optimisation and innovation – remember that small steps leads to big improvements.

Process optimisation: Focusing on well-defined and documented processes that are aligned with business objectives to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Data-driven decision making: Making informed decisions based on accurate and timely data analysis rather than relying on assumptions or guesswork.

Standardisation: Establishing standardised procedures and practices to ensure consistency, reduce errors, and enable better performance measurement.

Employee empowerment: Encouraging and enabling employees to take ownership of their work, make decisions, and contribute to process improvement.

Lean thinking: Applying lean principles such as waste reduction, value stream mapping, and uninterrupted flow to eliminate inefficiencies and streamline operations.

Ongoing learning and development: Promoting a learning culture that fosters personal and professional growth, encourages knowledge sharing, and embraces new skills and technologies.

Leadership commitment: Demonstrating strong dedication from the leadership team to operational excellence through setting clear expectations, providing necessary resources, and fostering a supportive environment.

Performance measurement: Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor and evaluate operational performance, and using these insights to drive improvement initiatives.

Why is operational excellence important?

There are many benefits to be gained from the pursuit of operational excellence. Below are some of the ways your business will become stronger and more capable by investing time into OpEx training and consultancy.

Change management: Your business will become highly effective at managing organisational change and overcoming resistance to change. Organisations that embrace operational excellence are better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions, customer demands, and emerging technologies. They can respond quickly to challenges and opportunities, ensuring long-term sustainability.

Collaboration and communication: Promoting cross-functional collaboration, open communication channels, and knowledge sharing. Effective communication and collaboration foster a shared understanding of operational goals and facilitate the exchange of ideas and feedback.

Efficiency and cost reduction: Operational excellence focuses on eliminating waste, streamlining processes, and improving productivity. By optimising operations, organisations can reduce costs, minimise inefficiencies, and allocate resources more effectively.

Customer satisfaction: When a business delivers products or services that meet or exceed customer expectations consistently, it can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

Competitive advantage: Organisations that strive for operational excellence gain a competitive edge in their market. They can deliver products or services faster, at a lower cost, and at a higher quality than their competitors. This can lead to increased market share and improved profitability.

Employee engagement and satisfaction: Operational excellence encourages employee empowerment, involvement in improvement initiatives, and a focus on personal and professional growth. Engaged and satisfied employees are more productive, innovative, and committed to the organisation’s success.

Risk management: Operational excellence includes robust processes for identifying and mitigating risks. By implementing effective risk management practices, organisations can minimise operational disruptions, ensure compliance with regulations, and protect their reputation.

Innovation and growth: Operational excellence fosters a culture of innovation and experimentation. By continuously seeking ways to improve processes, products and services, organisations can drive innovation, create new opportunities, and fuel growth.

Sustainability and environmental impact: Operational excellence encompasses sustainable practices that minimise waste, energy consumption and environmental impact. By adopting environmentally friendly operations, your business can contribute to a healthier planet and meet the growing expectations of socially responsible customers.

The Clarity Operational Excellence Academy

We’re so passionate about supporting businesses in the pursuit of operational excellence, we launched an academy that focuses specifically on both its foundations and more advanced tools and behaviours. The Clarity Operational Excellence Academy offers a four-day Foundation Course that’s suitable for people who are new to the concept. We also provide an Advanced Course, the duration and content of which is fully tailored to the objectives of your business following an in-depth assessment by one of our Lean and Visual Management Consultants.

What kind of results can I expect from OpEx?

Did you know that one employee trained in OpEx can find a daily two-minute improvement? This means that if you were to train 50 members of staff, you could release the potential of 100 minutes saved every single day.

Ultimately, the aim of the operational excellence model is to create long-term and sustainable change through cultural shifts that are embraced throughout the entire business. Rather than quick fixes, your teams will make informed and strategic changes that have a positive snowball effect across the organisation. To find out more, make sure to download our free brochure.

We’re here to help you plan for operational excellence

The Lean specialists here at Clarity provide training, consultancy and bespoke visual management tools that help organisations of all shapes and sizes to integrate operational excellence into their strategies. To get started, contact our team on +44 (0)1482 296451 or fill in our contact form to book your free initial consultation.