Operational excellence (OPEX) means aligning structures, processes, and practices in the company to ensure that a learning and continuously improving organisation is possible. Operational excellence aims at the integral improvement of all company functions. The approach offers great potential in areas that are characterised by complex and dynamic processes, a variety of interfaces, divergent perspectives and high performance pressure. These typically include research & development, manufacturing and supply chain management and logistics. OPEX has the potential to reduce loss and waste along the entire value chain, leading to a lasting improvement of the operational and financial metrics. Four core elements are critical to the success of OPEX programmes:
- OPEX organisation: The basis for a flexible and powerful company is a globally defined, networked and coordinated organisation. Of particular importance are the correct dimensioning of the overall organisation and the efficient design of the interfaces and processes in the line and in cross-sectional areas. A further prerequisite for success is a unique and clear company-wide description of roles and responsibilities.
- OPEX standards: Standardised process flows and job descriptions in the direct and indirect area form the foundation of operational excellence. They are the pre-condition for detecting deviations and initiating a process of continuous improvement. IT systems, such as ERP or MES etc., are an important lever in the development of standards. They ensure the mapping, implementation and networking of processes and efficient mastery of complexity. In addition to the procedural standards, technology, planning, quality standards also play an important role, as does the use of an effective set of methodologies, tools and internal and external best practices.
- OPEX cycle & KPIs: Improvement routines are a decisive factor for operational excellence. Starting with an annual cycle for the initiation and implementation of strategic initiatives up to the daily improvement of processes in the area of shop floor management. To initiate and manage improvements, a clear OPEX strategy and a consistent KPI system is necessary. On this basis, the Hoshin-Kanri planning and control system, which integrates all employees, should be used to translate the strategy into influenceable metrics for all corporate levels.
- Management excellence: Sustainable operational excellence can only be achieved if it is embodied as a management philosophy. Its core is the pursuit of continuous development and effective use of the skills and competences of employees. Coaching routines (coaching kata), intensive individual training and qualification programmes, as well as a structured and holistically oriented transformation management strategy form the basis for this.
Based on profound methodology and project experience, ROI develops OPEX approaches that are tailored to exactly the company-specific framework conditions and structures. Our focus is on an optimal OPEX system design, as well as on the identification and realisation of operational potential. The ROI approach is divided into five phases:
- Training & transformation: The qualification of staff plays a key role over the entire course of the project. From the very start, the employees receive intensive training, enabling them to take an active part in the project. Train-the-trainer concepts are used to produce multiplier effects and ensure far-reaching embedding of knowledge. These activities are supported by transformation and change management to minimise friction and to achieve a high level of acceptance for the changes.
- Gap and potential analyses: The ROI OPEX scan determines the degree of maturity and implementation of the four OPEX core elements in the enterprise. Combined with further assessment methods, structural and operational potentials are identified. The result is a fit/gap analysis that fundamentally defines the later individual approach.
- OPEX system: Working together with the company, necessary system elements are designed or further developed and combined in a holistic OPEX system.
- Roll-out planning: The department- and site-specific development of road maps, taking into account the existing capacities and competencies of employees, determines the speed of the implementation and the success of the changes.
- Implementation: Pragmatic implementation takes place in the form of lighthouse projects which focus on measurable best-practice results. The employees are trained in order to be able to achieve results independently – which leads to a high commitment, learning effects and sustainable acceptance of the changes.