At EON, we’re privileged to work with OpEx Leaders and teams at a wide variety of organizations, which gives us broad exposure to the latest trends and most pressing challenges that our clients face. Some of our clients are new to formal OpEx and are just getting their “sea legs” so to speak. Others have been at it for some time and are trying to take their efforts to the next level. The third category of client is one that has been on the journey for some time and has been able to implement a structured approach to OpEx within most or all of the organization.
As we reflect on our work with clients across the OpEx maturity spectrum, we’ve identified 3 key challenges that every OpEx Leader will eventually need to address at some point in order to drive an approach to operational excellence that stands above the rest. We sometimes refer to these as the 3S’s on the OpEx journey. Read on to learn about challenge #2, 'How to Scale Your Efforts'.
SEE ALSO: How to Measure Operational Excellence
Challenge 2: How to Scale Your Efforts?
A typical approach to deploying OpEx is to begin work in a pilot area within the business (e.g., plant, department, facility, store, region, etc.) in order to prove the concept before expanding elsewhere. This is generally a sound strategy as it takes some of the risk out of the initial deployment and provides an opportunity to demonstrate value that can be used to generate organizational momentum.
However, that transition to a broad-based deployment is a tricky one. Often the pilot area is selected because the conditions are conducive to such a change effort, which is likely not the case everywhere in the organization. Additionally, broad expansion likely involves engaging with substantially more of the workforce without a substantial increase in funds, which interjects significant risk into the effort.
Some of this risk can be mitigated with sound rollout planning and smart decision-making on how to invest any additional funds provided. But the reality is that at some point the organization will need to sort out how efficiently transfer capability, ownership, and accountability for OpEx to the broader organization so that the OpEx team does not become the constraint.
One way our clients enable this transfer is by providing a common toolset that can be used in the business to self-diagnose the need and connect the workforce to training and implementation resources that they can use to make progress with some level of autonomy. Some organizations make an attempt at this by developing a standard Lean/OpEx self-assessment model, but that only solves half the problem. The question of what to do with the assessment results is where the real opportunity lies. To capture this opportunity, the assessment needs to connect people to relevant “how to” content and make it easy to generate action plans and re-assess as progress is made. We refer to the vertical integration of assessment with instructional guidance & implementation tools and action plans as a “playbook.”
In this new paradigm, OpEx teams facilitate the implementation process through capability building, coaching, and serving as the standard-bearer for the systems and practices implemented instead of bearing primary responsibility for driving the implementation, thus creating additional leverage on those scarce resources.