What Does it Mean to Embed Operational Excellence in your Company's DNA?

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It’s not always easy trying to inspire passion for process across an organization. After all, who really thinks of their job in terms of processes? (Present audience excluded, of course). So what does it really mean when we talk about embedding process in the "cultural DNA" of a company? And what does it look like to do it successfully?

That’s one of the questions that PEX Network’s recent report ‘From PEX to OpEx: The Next Generation,’ attempts to answer. As more and more companies within Europe turn to operational excellence strategies to improve performance and achieve strategic objectives, how can companies adopt operational excellence methods and thinking into their everyday culture?

Here are the three key takeaways from the report.

#1: Engage your employees from the "get go" – make sure employee engagement is not an afterthought

People are a critical part of any processes. For process change to be successful, you need to think about how you bring your staff along on the journey. How will you engage your staff in the change? How will you make them feel like their ideas are being heard?

For many European companies, one expression of this is the desire to make Operational Excellence just part of "business as usual". Instead of a separate activity that people must do in addition to their "day job," operational excellence becomes part of the culture and incorporated into the way that people work day to day. Some tips to achieve this include building cross-functional change teams to motivate and engage all departments, encouraging collaboration, innovation and commitment, and engaging key stakeholders to champion change.


#2: Don’t underestimate the value of leadership – and keep your message simple!

At nearly half of European organizations that we surveyed, leadership and cultural strategy were the main focuses for their operational excellence program. Getting your senior leadership on board will be critical to overall success. Lisa Norcross, SVP Operational Excellence at E.ON is quoted in the report on the value of senior stakeholder buy-in: "A very important one is having senior leadership who is really committed to this and believe it is something that is helping them to deliver their business results. When the senior leaders are also thinking about how to change the way they lead the business, this cascades all the way through the organization."

So how can you make sure that you get your senior leadership on board? Advice from key industry experts is to keep your message simple, identify the costs of poor quality, and communicate the results of addressing those challenges clearly.

#3: Keep on eye on the future

As digital technology disrupts industries and companies like never before, organizations must continuously evaluate what the needs of the future will be. How must the business and operating model adapt to survive in the future market?

Operational excellence programs can help businesses with the required changes as well as themselves harness the power of new technology for operational excellence. The report, for instance, looks at how Air France has been using digital technology to share information much quicker than before helping it to meet its operational excellence objective of keeping the planes running on time.

Interested in reading the full report? Download it here.