December 16, 2021

5 Things Business Excellence Isn’t

Much has been said and written about Business Excellence: it is an integrated collection of proven practices that enable businesses to become the best they can possibly be. It promotes innovation, increases customer satisfaction, and improves efficiency and productivity. It affects all aspects of a business and future-proofs it in this increasingly complex economic environment we are experiencing.  

So, we have a lot of information about what Business Excellence is and what benefits it can bring, but what are the main misconceptions?

1. It’s not a deck that nobody reads

Many organisations hire consultants to assess and develop a roadmap that sits on a shelf as soon as the consultant leaves.

The value of Business Excellence is only realised through implementable solutions that add value in the short, medium and long term. Connecting the dots between your vision, operations, and people will create a productive environment where teams are connected and working towards the same goals, which can only bring the best possible outcome for your business.  

2. It’s not based on one perspective

Those same consultants generally base their findings only after speaking with the leadership team or the discipline that engaged them.

Did you know that, on average, only 4% of problems are known to senior management​? You can’t create a complete picture from just a top-down perspective, nor can you do this from a singular bottom-up perspective. It is impossible to develop a well-informed, comprehensive Business Excellence plan that can positively impact the business with one perspective. A results-driven strategy has to gauge a 360º view of the business as a whole.

3. It’s not process mapping

Process efficiency is crucial to business excellence, but when treated as a starting point and done in isolation, this compounds existing flaws in the business.

Investing in lean processes is essential. However, if these processes don’t align with the vision, values and objectives of a business, not only do they have limited effectiveness, they actually add more complexity and magnify existing issues. People, operating models, systems, and data aren’t following that same trajectory.  

Companies need to aim for the 80/20 rule, where they focus on the 20% that adds the most value to the business and streamline the rest. That way, the transformation investment is targeted with the most significant impact.  

4. It’s not forcing the company to fit into an off-the-shelf software

Investing in prominent software doesn’t always result in the simplicity, and effectiveness businesses hope for.

Software is an enabler for all companies. However, forcing a business to adjust its operations to fit a certain software isn’t the solution, nor is over-customising that software. This will only stand in the way of the business’s capacity to grow and adapt.  

In the age of the market of one, where most companies are shifting from mass-production to individualised services and experiences, the concept of hyper-personalisation doesn’t stop with the end consumer. Companies also need tailored solutions that are defined with the specifics of their business in mind. This is often a careful curation of the most viable software solutions utilised effectively across the business, underpinned by an information strategy and data structure that serves that particular vision and its goals.

5. It’s not a luxury for businesses

Many organisations assume a Business Excellence is ‘nice to have’ and invest in this function only when business is on the up.

Business Excellence isn’t a luxury; it’s necessary for today’s competitive markets, particularly when businesses need a boost. Developing and implementing solutions that work for the business is complex; it takes time and requires a dedicated team of experts. All the buzzwords and emphasis on digital transformation often sound like a luxury reserved for organisations with big budgets when in fact, smaller companies not only also benefit significantly from them, but can implement them more rapidly due to their reduced size, faster decision making processes and overall, agile and flexible structure.

To survive in a market where customer demands are higher than ever, and the economic climate is constraining, companies must invest in improvements that add value, make them more efficient in operating, digitalise them, and ultimately prepare them for the future. In fact, a well-defined, customised, and comprehensive Business Excellence strategy and plan will make the difference between a stagnant organisation with an uncertain future and a business that is prepared to tackle an ever-changing socio-economic landscape and succeed.  

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