8 Steps To Operational Excellence

The right people want to do good work. Nothing inspires a team of quality employees quite like embracing a culture of excellence. They want to be proud of the work they do. They want to truly be fulfilled, knowing that they are doing things the right way.

If you want to improve an operation, the first thing to do is to make a deliberate decision to do so. That means deciding to become operationally excellent. The next steps one might take are many, but it’s imperative to set a long-term vision of operational excellence, up front. That’s a vision that the employees you want, will want to embrace. That might be the most important single step to truly becoming great, operationally. There is no path to achieving such a vision that does not involve becoming operationally mature.

Operations Maturity Roadmap

Operations maturity, and its promise of operational excellence, doesn’t happen overnight. Operational maturity is an ongoing endeavor to be reached or improved over time. Achieving it takes determination, quick but well-informed decision-making processes, and of course, technology.

Above, we explain our vision for what a roadmap to operational excellence might entail. But first, let’s discuss operations maturity and the concept of an Operations Maturity Model.

One Roadmap To Success Follows This Path

Permanent Record

Establish a standard practice of documenting operating conditions and decisions made. This means establishing a communications backbone that retains a permanent record of everything going on in your operation. Once established, work toward funneling all operations intelligence into this permanent record.

Standardize Records

Create repeatable processes for documentation practices. This means having pre-built forms for common conditions and actions that allow users to be thorough, yet efficient, in adding information to the permanent record.

Shift-to-Shift Handshake

Create a standard, documented practice for how shift-to-shift communication takes place. This should formally document that shift-to-shift communications took place, including what was communicated. Face-to-face or word-of-mouth handover is not good enough here.

Implement a Digital Visitor Log

Ensure that all visitors to your facility are fully documented, including photo identification, and make sure that digital record is integrated into your communications backbone.

Institute Modern Inspections

This means moving from paper checklists to documented practices. Here, look to technology to improve your ability to document conditions and observations with photos and even video, including providing alerts and decision assisting guidance to staff during inspections.

Integrate Systems for Key Alarms and KPIs (only)

Your operating record cannot contain all data from your real-time or transactional systems. However, it can contain key alarms or KPIs and those should be relayed to your operating record automatically.

Add Reports and Notifications

As your operating record improves, you can begin to use data analytics to look for the emergence of important trends or conditions and ensure that operators are notified quickly. You can also study the logs for historical cues that may drive future, faster and better decision making. This is where operational excellence truly begins to reveal itself.

Continuous Improvement

Continue to refine your operating record, culling out noise and improving the signal that your operation needs to be the best it can be.

In Conclusion

Companies are under constant pressure to do more with less, to comply with ever evolving and more and more nuanced mandates and to do it all faster and faster. Without a commitment to a long-term process toward operational excellence, it’s virtually hopeless – a no-win scenario, a Kobyashi Maru.

The alternative, for those that dare, is to set the tone that excellence is ahead, that you are committed to it, that the operation will demand it and that it’s in everyone’s interest to pursue it. It’s not easy. Some may not want to get on board. But, understand this, those that do are the winners – the people necessary for achieving next level success. They will embrace it and that is key. Give them the vision they deserve, which is a clear vision. Let’s call it 20/20 vision – a vision of your operation in the year 2020 that’s crystal clear.

At LogBook, that’s exactly the vision we have for ourselves. Find out what we can do to help you define and achieve your vision of operational excellence today.