Probably like many of you, along my career, I have become very passionate and a proud advocate of Operational Excellence. My name is Luc Roesems and am currently employed by Samsonite as Vice President Manufacturing. Age 49, I have held several positions working for multinational companies and different industries; from Demand and Supply Manager, to Head of Supply Chain and S&OP, Director Global Operations and PMO, Divisional Plant Operations Director.
Little did I know, when I graduated from University, I would also gradually become certified in CPIM, CSCP, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Scor-P. Back in 2017, I have also founded my own consultancy company PerfectOps.
Where do you start and how do you drive Operational Excellence? In this article I will share with you around my vision, talk about theory versus real-life practice and foremost how you drive and sustain results.
STEP BY STEP – STAY PRAGMATIC – AVOID OVERCOMPLICATION
Firstly, it is a mindset to constantly challenge the existing, look for the improved, how things can be done differently and better. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect to instill in people, it being a cultural given and state of mind. The key is that you can only lead the organization and teams by example, you need to bring the structure as well and set the necessary expectations. A nice working recipe is per below, next to creating specific objectives for the year, or creating a functional job lead etc.
• Identify a number of projects in the area of productivity, call it your biggest opportunities (you may involve your Production Managers, Team Leads in the idea generation)
• List them value-add top down, select projects and assign clear ownership and expectations
• Do regular meeting reviews (weekly or 2-weekly at first). It helps to engage the Teams, and you need to stay close to steer and guide them
• At first there is no harm to be cost driven versus later more quality bound or process bound for instance. As a matter of fact, you want to see these quick successes and get the enthusiasm going. It really works addictively and this way you can build on it and expand.
It is a mathematical fact that a 10% product cost improvement contributes more to the bottom line than a 10% sales increase.
This sounds all easy enough you would say, however, there is also the underlying question though around whether you have the necessary competencies in house to put this on the map in your company. From my experience the APICS courses and Lean Six Sigma BlackBelt certification have greatly contributed to my know-how, next to interesting literature I can recommend to name a few like The Toyota Way Fieldbook from Jeffrey K. Liker and David Meier, QRM Its about Time from Rajan Suri, and many more of course