Saturday, October 24, 2009

Things that work

Lately I have been thinking about Operational Excellence. Not the low cost strategic positioning I used to know as operational excellence, but something completely different.

An article by Spencer Stuart starts by stating: Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, total quality management are just a few of the programs companies are implementing to increase profitability and eliminate waste. When integrated under the umbrella of Operational Excellence and applied across the organization, however, a new way of doing business emerges — one that produces higher yields, reduces waste, improves quality and increases customer satisfaction.

The institute of Operational Excellence gives this definition: Operational Excellence is when each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow when it breaks down.

But what does this really mean? I tried to define this in a way that would apply to anything and that could be understood by anybody, and came up with my own definition.
  • Operational Excellence is your ability to design, produce, deliver, support and continuously improve things that work the way they are supposed to.

  • Your customer requirements define the way your products or services are supposed to work.

  • Things that work the way they are supposed to lead to customer satisfaction.

  • Things that don't work the way they are supposed to lead to frustration.

This morning I saw this ad by Apple, which is pretty much built around the same message.

Did you notice Anne saying: "The real fresh start would be moving to a (product) which is rated #1 in customer satisfaction. ... I could stick to what I know, but what I know is pain and frustration."

Easy choise - isn't it?

Does your product or service work as it is supposed to? Are your customers satisfied or frustrated? And what might be your next step?