Operational excellence starts here

“The essence of operational excellence is to work as efficiently and effectively as possible,” says Vlerick Research Associate Tom Van Steendam. “How to actually achieve this depends on your strategic ambitions.” Our Operational Excellence Assessment Tool maps your company’s current level of operational capabilities and offers actionable recommendations for further improvement, tailored to your strategy.

Different roads to operational excellence

“Most existing tools used to assess a company’s level of operational excellence don’t look at a company’s total picture, and often lack a sound methodology or are rather generic. If anything, they provide a snapshot without further recommendations as to how to move on from there,” explains Tom. He worked as part of a team with Professors Ann Vereecke and Stijn Viaene, Senior Research Associate Joachim Van den Bergh and Jean Vandamme, who contributed to the project through his experience as consultant at Möbius, to develop a scientifically robust and usable tool for companies, tailored to the company in question. “After all, operational excellence is different for a price discounter than it is for a luxury brand that’s banking on customer experience.”

This tool consists of a survey asking one or more respondents in a company to assess their organisation’s strategy and capabilities.

What do you aspire to?

“The first part of our tool maps your strategic ambitions,” says Tom. “Drawing on Crawford & Mathews’ strategic priorities theory, we’ve built in a list of 24 statements helping respondents to prioritise between five value propositions, i.e. access, product, price, service and experience. This part of the tool identifies your company’s two most important strategic drivers, more specifically your dominating and differentiating value propositions, for example offering service and creating an experience for the customer.”

How operationally excellent are you?

The second part of the tool analyses operational excellence capabilities. Respondents are asked to rate their organisation on a series of best practices in operational excellence, 30 in total, which have been categorised under six dimensions, i.e. strategic alignment, governance, culture, people, tools and IT. Tom: “For this assessment we’ve adapted Rosemann’s BPM maturity assessment. Operational excellence and BPM are indeed closely connected and Rosemann’s framework is academically validated. The assessment scores identify your organisation’s strong and weak points.”

Now what?

“Combining the results of the two parts of the test we provide you with an overview of what value propositions to focus on, i.e. your strategic priorities, as well as what dimensions to focus on first, depending on your current capabilities,” explains Tom. “But there’s more: with this assessment you also receive a concrete list of recommendations, presented as bite-size work packages, to improve your focus and operational execution.” 

These recommendations are based on a literature review and several workshops with Möbius, whose consultants have extensive hands-on experience with operational excellence projects. Tom again: “If your scores are equal for, say, the readiness of your people and the use of tools for operational excellence, then you’ll achieve the best results if you first focus your attention on your people before improving your tools. Insights like these have been incorporated, improving the usability of this tool even further.”

Let’s sum it up

The Operational Excellence Assessment Tool can be used in several ways:

  • It identifies an organisation’s strong points and highlights opportunities for improvement.
  • When completed by multiple respondents it serves as an eye-opener. Different people may have a different take on an organisation’s competitive priorities and capabilities.
  • Because it makes the differing perceptions explicit, it is also a great discussion-enabler.

“The road to operational excellence depends on your strategic ambitions and your current capabilities,” says Tom. And he concludes: “This tool is the ideal starting point.”

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