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Creating operational excellence in small business

By working towards operational excellence in your business you will create an entity which is able to grow exponentially and efficiently. But what is operational excellence and how can you incorporate it into your business today?

What is operational excellence?

Operational excellence is a difficult term to describe. Some can be too broad while other definitions are too narrow. A definition by the Institute of Operational Excellence states that operational excellence is when each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow before it breaks down. Therefore, operational excellence may be viewed as a continuous journey within a business which focuses on the constant improvement of their processes incrementally.

Why should you aim for operational excellence?

Operational excellence is critical for the growth of your business. Here are four reasons why it is important.

1. Free up your manager’s time

By working towards operational excellence you will be able to free up your manager’s time so that they can focus on working on marketing, innovation and developing new products within your business. The employees will also feel more empowered as they will have the knowledge of how to identify problems in the process and how to fix it. Furthermore, managers will be able to schedule their time better as they won’t always be anxious about having to fix small unexpected problems that may crop up.

2. Identify problems quicker

By streamlining the process and having a visual diagram of how the processes should work, your employees will be able to identify problems sooner and find solutions quicker. This could also lead to less waste or loss.

3. Increase the possibility of expansion

When you work towards streamlining your processes, they become easier to monitor. This will make opening other branches or franchises easier for your business.

4. Eradicating waste

The one important aspect of operational excellence is to remove the waste of resources from the various processes. This will ensure that the process runs efficiently. It will furthermore ensure that the flow of value to the customer will be improved.

How do you apply operational excellence to your business?

STEP 1: Identify the key processes within your business

You need to know what are the key processes in your business and how do they work. It would be good to create a visual diagram of the processes. You can also mark who is responsible for the process within each department of your business.

STEP 2: Analyse the process

In this area you will look at the process and see what is working and what is not. You will need to use your creativity and think of ways to improve the process which would not necessarily be traditional. Research how other companies are doing the process and see if you could implement the new methods into your process.

STEP 3: Implement the new process

It is important that you train your staff on the new process and make sure they are aware of how it works. You should do it on a small scale and test it before you implement it across the whole business. This will make sure you pick up any problems with the new process before they cause a shutdown to your whole business.

STEP 4: Measure and revise

The final step is to measure the results of the new process and then revise the process if needs be. Remember that we are aiming for perfection.

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