9 Challenges to achieving operations excellence

Jitendra Badiani

In our line of business, we are privileged to have business leaders share their experiences, methods, and practices utilized to implement and operations excellence. This inside peek gives us an excellent opportunity to develop a useful list of the challenges faced by business leaders when trying to implement operations excellence practices.  Below is a short list and I encourage you to share with us challenges you might be facing in your implementation that are different.  You can send your challenges to info@focusedimprovement.ca.

  1. Linking process improvement with top-level business strategy – However well-intentioned business leaders are in implementing operations excellence practices; it is very important to link the process improvements with the top-level strategy of the business. Improvement of processes will not have its intended effects if they improve processes that do not align with the strategy of the business.
  2. Sustaining change – Sustaining change is a big challenge for business leaders. Therefore, to ensure sustained change, it is important to incorporate a culture of continuous in the company’s “DNA.”
  3. Overcoming too much short-term focus – It is very difficult for companies dealing with day to day business challenges to focus on process improvements. Process improvements typically lead to long-term impact and take more effort to sustain the change. It is important for business leaders to learn to overcome the short-term focus and keep motivated to pursue operations excellence measures.
  4. Cost/budget limitations – sometimes implementing operations excellence requires a large outlay upfront. Although the process improvements will pay for themselves, it is important to keep in mind that the business must effectively finance this process improvement in the short-term, which is not always the easiest thing to achieve.
  5. Overcoming resistance – Since implementing operations excellence ideas requires changing the way people do their jobs, it is common to experience resistance from all levels of the organization. Being able to overcome this internal resistance then is key to ensuring the success of the process improvement measures.
  6. Maintaining executive buy-in – Of utmost importance is to ensure and maintain executive buy-in to the implementation of an operational excellence program. If the executive does not buy-in, the entire organization will have trouble buying into them, and sustained change/improvements will inevitably fail.
  7. Ensuring a customer-centric focus throughout the business – One of the central tenets of Lean thinking is to have a customer-centric focus throughout the business. A focus on the customer is challenging to maintain in practice since a lot of processes; methods are ingrained into peoples routines/daily work.  Bringing a customer-centric focus necessitates changing those ways of working.
  8. Deploying new technologies – Deploying new technologies can be challenging due to the investment required up front for implementation as well as the changes in ways of working and personnel that it normally entails.
  9. Skills shortage – Recognizing what skills are lacking within the organization and have the wherewithal and capability to fill those gaps can be quite challenging for business leaders.

At Focused Improvement Consulting, we recognize all the challenges that are faced by companies looking to implement operations excellence measures and specialize in getting our clients to face these challenges head-on and achieve operations excellence despite these challenges. For more information on how we can help your business achieve operations excellence, please get in touch at info@focusedimprovement.ca.

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