Mark Twain
Automated operational excellence to foster loyaly and maximse performance

Continuous improvement is not only about process improvement but it is also about the people that support those processes, the tools they have at their disposal to do their job, and their understanding about their organisational structure and its management strategy. Continuous improvement is about discipline and performance. Industry trends in talent management are showing that it is becoming more and more important to cultivate performance using a feedback-driven culture offering real-time insights into the knowledge gaps which are impeding growth. Software is starting to become an essential element in instilling the core corporate disciplines necessary to guarantee steady growth via proactive and ongoing waste elimination.

Software is not going to identify and solve continuous improvement challenges but your subject matter experts certainly will if they are empowered to do so and are equipped with the right tool sets. That said, your continuous improvement software should offer discipline to your line staff. In particularly, it should offer (1) sense of ownership of the work being performed (2) sense of urgency promoting that the minutes you invest today will result in hours saved in the future and finally, (3) sense of corporate citizenship ensuring that every member of the organisation understands his duty to question situations where opportunity for improvement exists and can do so freely in a non-confrontational, collaboration-based, work environment.

1. Sense of Ownership

Organisations work best when each individual feels personally responsible for his contribution to the company. Your software should constantly remind your team leaders of the responsibility they have to the organisation in their usage of the tools and the people they have at their disposal to carry out business. This sense of ownership should also be easily communicated to each individual subject matter expert supporting the team lead. If your software is well integrated, it will also convey the concept of ownership at the individual level of the process improvement opportunities which present themselves in the day-to-day workflow motivating your subject matter experts to react by eliminating process wastes and risks as they are encountered.

2. Sense of Urgency

Avoiding procrastination of issue resolution can be one of the biggest challenges an organisation can face. It is here where the magic of automated dashboards can play an immense role in reminding team leads of their duties and ensuring that issues are resolved as they are encountered and that no backlogs collect. Effective automation will contain a business algorithm to ensure that outstanding items for resolution will stay updated with fresh statuses and as time passes, process owners will be reminded to revisit their operational readiness support documentation archive conducting quality controls to avoid that support materials do not become out-dated as processes change.

3. Sense of Corporate Citizenship

Finally, in a 'Kaizen-friendly' work environment it is everyone's duty to ask why. This is especially important for businesses that rely on the success of cross-border handoffs prior to delivering their products and services to their clients. Installing a culture of openness and respect allowing an employee at any level to question why things are done the way they are and identify where things can be done better is fundamental to harvesting continuous improvement business opportunities. Your software should allow your team to be able to identify faulty interactions in a logical and non-confrontational manner giving the in-scope parties a constructive and intuitive interface to begin to hypothesise as to why certain issues exist, test their theories through quality analytics, and effectively collaborate in the identification of potential opportunities to eliminate operational wastes and risks.

Benefits, benefits, and more benefits

To summarise, continuous improvement automation is not the solution for all but for those who are growth-oriented and wish to be resilient and flexible during periods of change, it should be carefully considered and evaluated as a critical investment for the future growth of the organisation. An operational excellence continuous improvement software finely tuned to the pulse of the organisation's employees will offer benefits across the following business critical management areas:

Technology: 360° visibility into the IT applications used by the organisation and the costs and benefits associated with eliminating bugs, implementing enhancements, and consolidating best-of-breed tools available

Organisation: 360° visibility into the friction present in daily business interactions, its impact on the organisation, and the operational best practices available to minimise variance and break down 'silos'

Process: 360° cost/benefit visibility into the portfolio of waste and risk reduction process improvements available within the organisation

People: 360° visibility into the skill sets available to implement business opportunities and the knowledge gaps present which impede ongoing progress


About the author

Andrew Lenti has been working with multinational organisations involved in back office business transformation initiatives since 1999. In that time he has been based in 6 different European countries as well as having two years of experience working in client service operations in the United States. He has rich experiences working with business leaders at all levels of the organisational hierarchy and has spent vast amounts of time working with shared services and outsourcing centres of excellences on business restructuring implementation projects. He is one of the founders of TOPP Tactical Intelligence Ltd, a European operational excellence software provider and is one of the original architects of P.R.E.S.T.O., the cloud-based, Lean Six Sigma continuous improvement business management software currently being used by large and small organisations as a tool in performance management and assisting with operational restructuring. If you would like to learn more, please visit www.toppti.com or contact Andrew on Linked