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Win more from less with your Operational Excellence programmes

Operational Excellence programmes were, and still are, important components on the management agenda of companies from many different industries. According to a study recently carried out by EFESO, in partnership with ICIS, more than 75% of the responding companies rate OPEX as a top 3 or top 5 agenda item.

In spite of this, the satisfaction level with programmes varies quite a bit, with up to 50% of the initiatives not reaching initially targeted goals1. So, what are the reasons for these mixed results? What can be learned from the experience? In 2018, to explore these questions, EFESO in collaboration with ICIS carried out a global survey with the objective of:

  1. Understanding main trends regarding Operational Excellence programmes (comparing survey results from 2014 with 2018) => how have companies developed their OPEX initiatives?
  2. Deep-diving into 2 topics which were highlighted in the 2014 edition as being key: Collaboration across the network and Organizational engagement/leadership development

Please find below a short abstract of the Point of View. We hope you find the content relevant and invite you to download the OPEX Point of View for further reading.


Comparing the 2 survey outputs it becomes obvious, that companies have been progressing their OPEX programmes. The trend clearly goes towards deploying comprehensive production systems instead of punctual/site-related improvement initiatives. An example of this is the increased share of programmes using a centrally facilitated common methodology to enable exchange. Also, the type of objectives followed moves from “classic” efficiency gains to e.g. providing a platform for safety improvements by including behavioral aspects. Last, but not least, the overall satisfaction level has been improving – programs with high management attention still performing significantly better than those where the initiatives have less relevance for the management.


When comparing successful with non-successful programs on the dimension of how collaboration factors are implemented, some specific elements appeared to have special relevance. As an example, the existence of easily accessible Best Practice sharing options as well as technology-enabled collaboration platforms ranked very high. Digitalization thus can be applied beneficially to topics, which are “at the doorstep” and have immediate benefit. This can include e.g. digital performance management systems boosting existing meeting structures with connected digital visual boards, as well as platforms enabling the use of intelligence in the network for problem-solving topics – learning from experiences made elsewhere.


Also when looking at the Human Dynamics side of things, some interesting differentiating factors surface. The top element separating the successful from non-successful programmes relate to making desired leadership behaviours concrete, measurable and thus coachable. Indeed companies that have been able to do this, go beyond defining the desired behavior, but manage to make it become reality by connecting it to the experience people can make in “High Impact.

Moments” (like morning meetings, Gemba walks, 1:1 shopfloor interaction). This action makes leadership development very concrete, tangible and thus effective. Combining this, for example, with positive and negative consequence management (rated # 3), further ensures the sustainability of changes implemented through OPEX programmes.


Please feel free to read the full content and additional study results in the article. To make the content additionally relevant, in the Point of View you will also find case studies illustrating the 2 focal points and exemplifying how companies have, in practical terms, been solving the leadership behavior and digital collaboration challenge. We hope you find the content relevant to your situation and would be happy to open a conversation on this if there is interest to do so.

Based on ICIS survey results from 2014


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Download our perspective on winning more out of less from Operational Excellence programmes.