Operational Excellence Culture

We Deliver - You Succeed 


OpEx is like Lean on Steroids 

Most manufacturers and several other types of businesses are familiar with the need to adopt the Japanese Lean Strategies that are the very sensible competitive conducts which produced the Miracle of Toyota and other products. 

These strategies are based on the common thought of Kaizen – Continuous Improvement. Even if not all of them are applicable to every business, the adoption of some of them can make processes more efficient and effective, thus the operations become more profitable. 

There are though some weaknesses in the Lean Implementation. These are most of the time generated by the lack of commitment of some of the participants. Those weaknesses can break the purpose of the implementation and waste all the energy that some people put into the objective of implementing the system. The investment gets lost

Actually, most of the organizations trying to implement Lean can feel frustrated and abandon the idea in the first year. This happens in up to 80% of cases; mostly when they try to do it without a consulting partner. The reason is that the person in charge is a current leader who is given the assignment on top of the responsibilities of their normal position, so they can’t devote enough time and energy to the demanding tasks of the transformation. Many of those companies will not survive, or at best stay achieving median results and be very vulnerable to competition.  The frustration comes naturally from the weaknesses we mention above. What happens is that the disciplines implied by Lean implementations demand some drastic changes… excuse the bad word. Change is never comfortable, especially for those who enjoy stability and privileges in the Status Quo of the traditional enterprise. Those changes are critical to create a true Lean Culture. Unfortunately some people who already have a certain status in the organization but have not understood the effects of improvement will try instinctively and naturally to block the evolution. They would need to learn more about all the benefits that each individual can derive of the new ways of doing things and interacting within the Lean parameters. 

Normally what we can see is that most Lean efforts have been focused, (sometimes very successfully), on a particular problem and department. Unfortunately, even if that particular tool or strategy was very well implemented, rarely does it really permeate to other areas of the company. Exxon in Colombia had a great idea; as soon as we managed to implement TPM, they started rotating managers between the different areas of responsibility. The best practices started strengthening and spreading, and the poor leaders became evident and for the most part voluntarily quit. Rotation is an excellent strategy that some organizations fear to put into practice thinking of the uncertainty of some people when they are moved out of their comfort zone.  One deterrent to rotation is the need to give people more preparation all the time; that continuous training is a good habit which did not exist in the traditional Industry. 

A good friend and director of a maquiladora plant complained that it was expensive to train people just to see them leave for a better opportunity. I said: “It is worse to not train them and have them stay.” My answer made him accept the proposal that has succeeded for many years now. 

When this is put into practice we can see a substantial improvement in the management culture. Now we are succeeding in Lean and probably wondering if there is a Better and Faster way… Yes, there is! 

This is the point where a different approach can help resolve all the apathies and fears. This approach is called OpEx, short for Operational Excellence. OpEx helps people become more proactive and interdependent, and at the same time, more cooperative. 

OpEx puts things in the right order because the first action is Education. Step number one is the Understanding from each individual of the goal, and the method to achieve it, where they can see that their contribution is a piece of it! This is propelled by the motivation of the measurable benefits that we all derive from doing it! All the participants build their vision of the best future of the operation. When the vision is literally owned by the participants we can rest assured that they will do what it takes to maintain the focus on the right spots.  

The Costly Requirement 

Training takes a new meaning in the OpEx enterprise. No longer training is that isolated obligation of giving people a few hours of indoctrination each year. Training here will be a critical part of the operation’s equation. When possible, training should happen every single day, even for a few minutes. It does not need to be a formal classroom thing. At the most efficient corrugated cardboard plant of the world, we have a daily meeting of 15 to 20 minutes at the end of the shift. Operators learn what happened in the day, and how it was solved. They participate with their ideas and experiences and create a true synergy that bonds the team. The common thinking is that the time and resources invested in training is a waste. Wrong! Training is likely the best thing you can do to keep people interested in their jobs and engaged to their job, brand, and enterprise.  

The accomplishments are very straight forward. That is a result of a Total Commitment from the Organization as a whole. This is not supposed to be a Discipline by mandate, or something that is imposed on people. This is exactly the opposite approach: The spontaneous proactive actions of each and every one of the associates at every level of the enterprise. Why should they be interested into the Flow that OpEx creates? Because OpEx is the single motivator for efficiency that we all have learned and is understood, promoted, and made reality by all the elements in the Company-Wide TEAM. 

We are not talking anymore about a Continuous Improvement approach, which can be very good but not as thorough as we all need it. This Company-Wide understanding of flow, makes each of us a guardian of the productivity. Flow needs this true significance and transparency, so each individual can clearly see their contribution to it. Not only is it awareness, it is the realization that we can take autonomous actions to prevent or correct the process so that there are no delays or failures in the flow. 

What is that we want to achieve? Countless advantages like: 

·         Shorter lead times  

·         Increased on time delivery 

·         Faster throughput 

·         Higher inventory turns 

·         Reduced waste of resources 

·         Fewer risks and accidents  

·         Lower personnel turnover  

·         Fewer defective processes or products 

·         Multiple other benefits 


Obviously these carry increased efficiency and higher productivity, which leads to a more cost-effective operation and quicker return on investment. 

It is a clear benefit over Lean because of the Company-Wide Culture that assures the total cooperation from everyone in the organization. It is a quantum leap to the top of effectiveness that in the route of continuous improvement would take years, which creates disenchantment in the weaker.  

The facts that make this Culture work: 

·         Each individual participates in the Vision of an optimal operation from the beginning.  

·         They all are constantly trained and timely informed about the total flow of the process. 

·         They are given the empowerment to intervene directly, personally or in groups to fix the flow even before it is interrupted. 

·         This all can be done without the need for intervention or especial permission from management. 

Mora Global is ready to help. 

We have been helping many companies bring in this magnificent Management infrastructure and will be glad to do a free assessment and Strategic Plan exclusive for your enterprise. Your Results are Assured with our strong Money Back Guarantee! Email us now!