Six Degrees and leading OpEx Specialist, Ishan Galapathy, recently hosted a round table event as part of our ongoing Thought Leadership Series. Senior representatives from CHEP, Diageo, SunRice, Weir Minerals and other high-profile companies were invited for a morning discussion, focusing on OpEx, best practice and what a successful framework looks like.
“So, is there a perfect framework, and what does it look like?"
Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, has released a report identifying 25 companies globally that best demonstrate leadership. Areas the report focus on are applying demand-driven principles to drive business results, capabilities, and best practices to their workforce, resulting in maximum output and plant efficacy. Currently, Apple and P&G hold the top two spots, rating as Business Masters.
What is OpEx?
OpEx is a strategy where leadership, team work and problem-solving come together, resulting in the ongoing improvement across an organisation and business.
Efficiency and C.I. is not about the tools - it's all about the framework
Ishan demonstrates this idea with "The Cart Metaphor" which explains that the role of the C.I. team is to educate their workers on the capabilities of their tools (or in this case, the cart) and therefore, work more efficiently together.
So where to start?
The correct Framework starts with culture, engagement and buy-in from everyone. A successful workforce starts when every employee understands the purpose and can see the journey the business is on. The main challenges are the people and environment, so to be successful we must start at the bottom, which raises the question; how do we develop them? By building the correct culture from the start, identifying the opportunities together, bringing everyone in and identifying the “low hanging fruit”. Not everyone will be on board - you'll need to identify the most vocal and leading influencers, take them aside, plan to develop them and provide them with the tools to contribute. This can only be done with leadership, and the correct leadership must provide direction.
Bringing the Framework Together
Once you have a purpose, the correct culture and the people are onboard, it’s now time to develop and bring the strategy together.
The Journey - Identify how long it will take, map it out.
Presentation and Vision – This is the most important part. Visualisation will allow the company to demonstrate the journey as well as its key strategy and purpose. Simplify measurements and KPI’s making it easy to read. Experience has shown us that identification using colours and pictures will eventually come as second nature to people.
Language - For everyone to understand, they must understand what it is, where it goes, when it starts and when it’s going to finish.
Awareness – What’s the project strategy and how will it help?
Performance - Track everything and document the wins and losses, (inadvertently make people accountable by showing wins and losses).
“Too many businesses establish a program at the cost of engagement, and without it, there is no purpose.”
This needs to start at the bottom. If it happens at the shop floor, then that’s where you begin. Starting from the start of a process will identify the quick wins, and most importantly it will bring the culture to fruition. People will not follow something they do not understand or entirely believe.
The Right Leaders - Characteristics (CIA)
Possess the skills to be an effective trainer as well as the ability to grow and develop teams.
What kind of influential skills do you possess? The optimum level on a scale from ‘technically strong’ to ‘people orientated’ would sit two thirds of the way towards the ‘people orientated’ end of the scale.
Ability to move, go up and down, adapting to different audiences and environments
What does a Successful OPEX framework deliver to a business? Sustainable results with a collaborative environment and engaged employees.
People - without good people there would be no company culture.
Processes - without processes there would only be ad hoc success.
Purpose - a strategy or vision gives the company direction.
The key to achieving a successful Operational Excellence Program starts with identifying the goal, one that everyone at all levels can understand and will know how to achieve.