Business Excellence - 5 Stages
Before you start a journey you first must know where you are going, the 5 stage program allows the organisation to plan and deploy the improvement in a sustainable way. Each stage of the program has been thought out in detail to allow the whole organisation to understand what is required to reach the 5th Stage.
Each stage has a focused theme so that it is clear what must be done before the organisation is ready to move to the next area. In each stage there are major benefits to be realised and imbedded into the organisation.
In all cases the focus must be on what is not as the customer wants it, it is these defects that must be eliminated and the underlying process improved if the Vision of Business Excellence is to be achieved.
Improvement by itself will slip away, it is improvement reinforced with process change that will bring lasting change and that improvement which can be seen and experienced by the customer.
1. Business Excellence Projects
The first step toward Business Excellence is to understand where the organisation is in relationship to where it wants to be and then identify the gaps to get there.
The key sections of this 1st Business Excellence stage are the following:
- End Vision Targets Agreed
- Key Performance Target Measured
- Target the Gaps
- Prioritise Projects: customer value & ROI versus ease of implementation
- Leadership Select Key Projects
Bringing the Leadership together to see this future Vision is a major plus of Business Excellence. We often see other side issues also becoming clearer and the time to communicate and share becomes possible.
So onto Stage 2 of Business Excellence
2. Business Excellence People
Now that the Opportunities have been identified and prioritised in the 1st Stage of Business Excellence then the 2nd Stage of Business Excellence is to match these projects to the right teams. The teams require a Sponsor, a Leader and core Team members along with others from time to time who will bring specific skills and inputs as required.
The key sections of this 2nd Business Excellence stage are the following:
- Business Excellence Organisation
- Leadership Sponsors Agreed
- Talent Identified to Lead Projects
- Full Team Trained as required
- Program Planned for Training and Support
Although the Leadership Team are in place the need for a specific Business Excellence Leadership Team brings the additional focus required to oversee the program and provide focused support as required.
A specific Sponsor from the Leadership needs to take overall responsibility for the project and their role will be to guide the team so they deliver what the Leadership as a whole set out to achieve. The sponsor is the link back to that Business Excellence Vision and so will conduct the project to achieve "sweet results".
The Talent who will lead the projects must be the identified talent not the available employee who can be easily given up. This is where many programs run into problems as the Leadership forgot the work they did in Stage 1 and somehow think that second best is good enough for these critical projects.
The development of everyone involved is generally required as people need time to reflect and understand what they have been asked to do. Also the ongoing support is required to help refine and asset where additional help is required to ensure that the program delivers as expected.
This 2nd stage of Business Excellence is a preparing of the Project Team and Support Organisation, readying them for the journey with the tools and resources for success.
So onto Stage 3 of Business Excellence
3. Business Excellence Implemented
The key sections of this 3rd Business Excellence stage are the following:
- Key Stage Reviews
- Define Process
- Measure Process
- Analyse Process
- Improve Process
- Control Process
- CI Methods
- Certify Project Leaders
This is where the delivery part of the project is, where there are 5 key Stages of the DMAIC methodology to be completed to achieve the project delivery and benefits. The Continuous Improvement tools used depend on the project and its focus and that is where the support of another more experienced Project Leader to guide and advise the actual project Leader is required.
At the end of the project is is important to recognise the team and the Project Leader. The ability to certify the Project Leader gives the organisation an opportunity to highlight the success and demonstrate how people who are involved in these successes are rewarded.
This 3rd stage of Business Excellence is the journey of the Project Team and their ability to achieve the desired end benefits for Business Excellence and the preparation of the next stage of maintenance of those benefits.
So onto Stage 4 of Business Excellence
4. Business Excellence Maintained
The key sections of this 4th Business Excellence stage are the following:
- On Leadership Weekly Agenda
- Barriers Eliminated
- Benefits Measured = Real Business £/€ Impact
- On-going Progress Communication
- Performance Management and R&R Visible
The tie in to the Leadership Agenda is crucial if the program is to flourish, for if the Leadership's attention becomes diverted to other things means that the projects are not an organisational priority = program death. If major improvement is being done outside Business Excellence then something is wrong, and the Leadership must address this issue. It can happen that there are seemingly conflicting priorities, which can cause blockages and delays, this is where the Sponsor can intervene and remove the issue so the project can move forward.
Pressing for the real financial benefit is often difficult as many teams don't want to document hard benefits as then it would be clear if there are any deviations from the benefit plan. But the full communication on progress must be made otherwise it will look as if there is limited program progress, making the program to look less successful. So the push to claim and document the progress is one that the Sponsor must drive for. In the end we want to reward the teams and if there is limited benefits shown then the credibility of the program will be questioned so a positive focus on this must show the overall program benefits.
This 4th stage of Business Excellence is the Project Team's benefit and delivery and the connection to make this level of performance the norm rather than the exception for Business Excellence and the preparation of the next stage of sustaining the gains.
So onto Stage 5 of Business Excellence
5. Business Excellence Sustained
The key sections of this 5th Business Excellence stage are the following:
- Manage Effective Control Plans
- Culture Progress through on-going process training
- New Projects Identified and Launched
- Vision Review and Priority Alignment Quarterly
It is very easy for the organisation to fall back to its old habits so the installation and daily usage of a Control Plan will prevent this. Also as new employees join parts of the organisation where there is a Business Excellence Culture, these new employees must be fully integrated into the "new ways", otherwise they may bring in a different way and soon all the good work could disappear.
The fortunate truth is that there is no time to rest as the customer requirement will have moved either by external technology changes or by our competitors catching up so the process of Business Excellence must again move on and we continue to analyse-prioritise-improve. These on-going reviews must be flexible and constantly pushing for higher returns as otherwise the program will see smaller returns and become less relevant, a very difficult challenge.
This 5th stage of Business Excellence is the installation of the Business Excellence Culture of the whole organisation, with the desire to met and exceed the original Vision.