I received an e-mail from Aberdeen Research today that claimed 73% of companies responding to an earlier survey expressed “a need to improve operating expenses as a top priority.” Operational efficiency is subject to many definitions and in the Aberdeen case it is an argument for tools over technique. My definition is a little different.
My definition of operational excellence is the technique of maximizing profit by optimizing the cost of doing business in any economic circumstance. Excellence does not just happen; it is the result of advanced planning and timely execution.
Companies that are going to be successful in this more precarious and opaque national and global economy will be those that have a good Go-to-Market Strategic Plan supported by a set of solid tactical plans geared to optimize efficiency in any economic circumstance. The tactical plans must be based on the probable and the possible and the unthinkable business scenarios – all in support of the Strategic Plan.
Operational excellence is a product of good scenario design, and tactical implementation. The final question management must ask before accepting a tactical plan is “does the company have the focused business processes and the enabling tools to quickly identify the changing economic conditions (early indicators) and respond urgently”? If the answer is “no”, the remediation begins with determining if the answer “no” is a fault of the tactical plan or the result of sub-optimal business operating practices or enabling tools ?
Bottom Line Excellence is the result of focusing on continuous re-examination of strategic assumptions and the nimbleness to adjust to changing assumptions.
Joyce Stoer Cordi
All Rights Reserved 2/18/2010