Five key learnings from the PEX Report 2021

PEX Network’s annual report reveals how the Covid-19 pandemic has uncovered opportunities for businesses to embrace digital transformation and enhance the role of data in continuous improvement initiatives

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Adam Jeffs

The PEX Report 2021: Global state of process excellence brought together the results of PEX Network’s global survey of process excellence industry professionals, success stories and expert interviews, providing insights and advice for process excellence professionals who are navigating a global crisis and driving business successes in 2021. In this article, we breakdown five key learnings that were offered by our annual flagship report.

  1. Digital transformation is the number one solution for 2021 problems

The PEX Report 2021 survey saw 44 per cent of respondents declaring digital transformation was their top investment priority for 2021. This suggests that organizations will focus on transforming operating models in 2021, as they attempt to deal with high levels of uncertainty and enforced restrictions brought on by the pandemic, necessitating the implementation of new technologies to facilitate remote services and support.

Organizations should make sure that transformation is initiated and fully supported by management teams. Peter Evans, director of service and performance management for shared services at LEGO, notes: “[Transformation] initiatives need to start at the top with an openness and honesty about the current situation the organization is currently in, a clear understanding of where it wants to go and an execution plan.”

  1. The Covid-19 pandemic has uncovered unexpected opportunities to innovate

PEX Network’s global state-of-the-industry survey revealed that the majority of respondents are implementing a new operating model as a result of the pandemic (39 per cent) and accelerating the use of data (38 per cent). This suggests that PEX practitioners have been working hard to enhance organizational capabilities in areas such as agility and visibility as a direct counter to the uncertainty the pandemic has brought.

In his analysis, Joe D’Apollonio, senior director PMO and operational excellence at Philips, saw an opportunity to implement process excellence methodologies in the new operating models.

“The pandemic provides a burning platform to embed lean management into businesses’ new operating models, and this will increase organizations’ ability to see flow, to identify waste and to do continuous improvement activity,” D’Apollonio said.

  1. Organizational stability is a key criteria for driving organizational agility

Maneesh Subherwal, executive director of business transformation, commercial bank at JP Morgan Chase & Co., noted that while many people believe the key criteria for driving organizational agility is nimbleness, stability could have an even greater impact.

“[Organizational stability] is the strong core that describes what the organization is trying to do: its mission, vision and purpose,” Subherwal explained.

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  1. You don’t have to be good to start, you just have to start to be good

The PEX Report 2021 revealed that organizational leaders often get hung up on where to start with digital transformation despite buying into it and understanding its benefits. As leaders attempt to dive into transformation initiatives it can be difficult to decide whether people or technology are a suitable starting point.

Joshua Zable, chief marketing and strategic planning officer at Minitab, explained: “The first step toward digital transformation is empowering people with the right technology to gain deeper insights from their data.”

Zable noted that while many believe delivering on digital transformation initiatives requires memorizing a formula or developing complex algorithms, in reality it is about enabling everyday people to deliver value through the application of mathematical and statistical methods.

  1. Data-driven decision-making can drive a culture of continuous improvement

The report features rubber compounding service provider HEXPOL’s drive to enable continuous improvement to eliminate waste and drive cultural transformation through the application of data-driven decision-making.

The application of data facilitated the application of HEXPOL’s define, measure, analyze, improve and control roadmaps, allowing clear visibility over expected deliverables and integrated analysis results as it relates to these factors.

HEXPOL director of continuous improvement Ram Sukumar noted that this approach has helped instill an understanding of organizational waste to facilitate continuous improvement in this area.

To uncover the full range of insights, advice and analysis offered by a range of process excellence leaders from across the globe, download the PEX Report 2021 here.