Written by Miguel Van Damme
Most organizations are sitting on unexploited gold mines – neglected or invisible for years. Exploiting them delivers tremendous benefits. The best part, successful exploitation depends on things organizations control themselves (employees, machines, processes, etc.), not on external factors (market, clients, weather, etc.). Yes, that is almost magic.
The process to discover and exploit these gold mines is robust and systematic. It is operational excellence. Over the past years, we have helped services and production companies improve their margins by up to 100% while boosting the teams' engagement. The most challenging part was to convince our clients that they were sitting on a gold mine, not to discover and exploit it.
"I'm amazed by the insights you brought us in less than a month, I never realized that we were leaving that much money on the table."
– CEO of BW Client
The overarching principles that a team deploys on a client engagement are essential for success. At BrightWolves, we apply five principles that make our operational excellence projects unique:
We set very ambitious targets for ourselves: in a services environment, we aim at a minimum +50% productivity impact, in a manufacturing environment +20%
We focus on people: employee happiness and productivity are deeply linked
We integrate sustainability: teams are more excited to reduce "waste" than to "produce more"
We get things done: we do not leave before impact
We do not have a recipe: while we have a robust and systematic approach, the solutions we apply are unique for each client
Operational excellence is a mindset shift
I like to measure the outcome of an operational excellence project one year later. Where can we change the approaches and enable the client's organization to embrace the "continuous improvement cycle”? With that philosophy, we prepare the case of change and ensure that our project delivers lasting, cumulative impact.