Every organization strives for excellence. The best organizations seek to continuously expand and improve on their current models, and that starts with a clear cut vision for their future. That vision requires a functional path that provides cues that you are heading in the right direction. In other words, it requires Operational Excellence.

Process Excellence Network developed a smart list of eight principles for Operational Excellence that create a solid blueprint for continuously improving performance.

Principle #1: Design lean value streams

We need to design on paper an end-to-end lean value stream flow, starting from the time we receive an order or request for service from the cus­tomer until the time we deliver it. On our future-state map, information is given to only one process in the value stream. All other process­es know what to do next because the information will flow with the product through the connections created from that one point. The key is that each process is connected, and material and information moves only when the next process needs it.

Principle #2: Make lean value streams flow

Next, we take our design from paper to the real world of our operation and implement a self-healing value stream that creates Operational Excellence. The first step in going from paper to performance is to provide formal training, including a review of the current-state value stream map, the eight guidelines for flow, application of these guidelines to the target value stream, and finally the implementation plan. Most importantly, all employees are taught the destination of Operational Excellence and the common goal of business growth.

Principle #3: Make flow visual

Once we have taken the design from paper and physically cre­ated the framework for flow, the next step is to make flow visual so that each employee can see how the processes are connected to one another and to the customer. In Operational Excellence, just about any visual indicator in the operation should have something to do with the flow or the progression of the flow of product to the customer.

Click here to read the rest of the principles.