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 the first challenge, 'How to Get Started'.
Challenge 1 – How to Get Started
A little while back, I wrote an ebook titled “When Perfection Hinders Progress: Why You Need to Commit to CI Today.” In the article I told the story of a surfer who wades out into the ocean but never actually gets up on his surfboard because he’s constantly looking for, but never finds, the perfect wave. The analogy is that many organizations get similarly paralyzed in their decision-making on when and how to start OpEx because they’re looking for the optimal business conditions. At some point the organization just needs to recognize that business conditions will never be optimal and make the commitment to OpEx or nothing will ever change.
But how to do that? What does it take to overcome organizational inertia and get things started with OpEx? What we’ve found is that there are a few critical steps that will get the OpEx train rolling down the tracks. These include:
- Formalize an OpEx vision and strategy – get the right mix of business leaders and other key stakeholders into a room and take them through the process of putting pen to paper on a vision statement and 3-5 strategic imperatives for OpEx. This process, in addition to setting much needed context for the OpEx journey, will help to coalesce these folks on the business need for OpEx, thus making it difficult for them to delay its implementation
- Agree on scope and resourcing – once a vision and strategy has been articulated, it’s time to start making some initial decisions that will set the appropriate boundary conditions for OpEx, including where in the organization to start the journey (i.e., scope) and what resources will be brought to bear to support the work
- Put together a workforce communication & engagement plan – not only is a comprehensive communication/engagement plan an example of sound change management, but once the plan is underway, the organization now has an obligation to follow through with the commitments communicated through the plan
For further guidance on how to establish an OpEx vision, strategy, resource model, and/or workforce engagement plan, feel free to download our ebook titled How to Advance Operational Excellence in Your Business.