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How to Leverage Operational Excellence for Competitive Advantage

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Operational excellence is a term that has been used for decades. It means implementing processes and procedures to reduce the number of errors in your business and cutting costs through efficiency. In recent years, it has taken on a new meaning: the competitive advantage of being able to operate faster than competitors because you’ve invested in operational excellence. 

Many companies are now adopting it to improve the efficiency of their operations, increase customer satisfaction, and gain an edge in the market. This post will discuss four steps on how to leverage operational excellence for your business.

1. Create a Customer-Centric Culture  

OpEx Learning Academy notes that implementing operational excellence is not only about the “how” but also requires a shift in mindset. The focus of operational excellence shifts from an inward-looking, siloed mentality to one that focuses on customers and value creation for them. A customer-centric culture engages employees by focusing their energy around common goals—improving product offering, service delivery, or sales performance for a specific customer group.

Creating a culture centered on customers provides the foundation for operational excellence to thrive and ensures that every process, service, or transaction takes into account what matters most to your customers. This allows you to move away from transactional relationships with your internal stakeholders by creating shared accountability across the organization—from executives all the way down to frontline employees.

2. Develop the Workforce to Deliver Superior Performance  

Operational excellence also requires that the workforce be developed to deliver superior performance. That means having the right people in place at all levels of management and across disciplines. You should also ensure these individuals are empowered with the right training and support systems (financials, tools & technology) required to make informed decisions that will improve their business unit or department’s operations. 

This will allow them to deliver superior results, which are critical for improved business performance. With a strong workforce that delivers superior results, organizations can achieve operational excellence, leading to sustainable competitive advantage. Your business will be able to provide superior value/outcomes in terms of quality, speed, and cost-effectiveness. 

3. Empower Every Employee to Make Decisions and Take Action  

One of the most important aspects of a lean culture is empowering employees at every level, from frontline workers all the way up to executives. When you give people more responsibility and authority for their work, they will feel valued and invested in what they’re doing. At first glance, this may seem like an unwise idea because it seems as if you’re stripping away the ability of managers to control their employees. 

But what actually happens is that people end up making better decisions even with less oversight from management. That’s because these people feel a greater sense of responsibility and ownership in their work. A lean culture takes advantage of this phenomenon by giving everyone at every level more decision-making power over how they approach problems. You can only achieve this through operational excellence because when you have a good process in place, people will be able to make the right decisions with minimal input from management.

4. Eliminate Waste and Reduce Lead Time  

Operational excellence focuses on eliminating waste and reducing lead time. This is a concept that applies to all levels of the company. From streamlining processes to improving quality control and increasing productivity with fewer resources, reducing waste and reducing lead time will be a big win for your business. With more streamlined operations, you can reduce costs and free up capital for other investments.

Eliminate waste and reduce lead time  leverage operational excellence

Operational excellence will help you achieve long-term competitiveness by eliminating anything that doesn’t add value or create customer satisfaction. Reducing waste will increase agility and flexibility, which is key to success in today’s ever-changing business landscape. You also get a better return on investment when you streamline operations, which will increase your company’s value.

Pursue Continuous Improvement in All Operations

In conclusion, the best way to continue the pursuit of operational excellence is by seeking continuous improvement in all operations. You can do this through lean management principles, including identifying value streams, creating flow, seeking perfection, and bettering processes. Continually seeking improvement in all operations is the only way to ensure that a company can remain competitive while also staying profitable. 

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