Enterprise Readiness System

Our Certificate Program

We have noticed that business improvement projects follow a predictable pattern. The company initiates a program in an operational unit. Within a short time, it scores easy victories and realizes gains. This justifies deploying additional resources to continue the positive trend. But after the low-hanging fruit is gathered, the program often stalls and disillusionment sets in. The program sputters for time before being abandoned or replaced with a new initiative.

To combat this too-common scenario, the society has developed the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness System — a certification program designed to create strategic alignment at all levels of a company while closing gaps and delivering results that are measurable, sustainable and replicable.

The program rests on a foundation of goal setting at the company level and business unit level. As priorities are set, Operational Excellence resources are trained and deployed, building capabilities across business units and capacity across the enterprise.

Internal leaders develop by exercising their knowledge and rising to the challenges of their particular discipline within the broad operational classifications of finance, cost of sales (COS), cost of goods sold (COGS), and general/administrative (G&A). In optimizing the performance of business units, they reinforce the business decision loop and process-execution chains to ensure proper alignment and timely decision-making.

Although certification at the macro level is for the enterprise, program execution at the micro level follows a teacher-scholar model for developing employees, leaders and teams — a model used in multinational organizations and government organizations such as the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. It includes a broad, multi-discipline syllabus designed to increase the business knowledge and workplace performance of employees.

As business units achieve readiness, they are mapped to a simulation model where scenarios are tested before deployment. These simulated events also test the overall enterprise to determine readiness for transformational change.

It is important to understand that individual certification is not the goal, only a means to achieving the higher goal of company certification through the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness System. But as the company works toward certification, optional courses can be incorporated in the curriculum to also certify individuals in disciplines such as:

  • Enterprise Value Stream Mapping
  • Six Sigma Master Black Belt
  • Theory of Constraints (TOC) Expert
  • People Skills
  • Certified Coach
  • Creativity Leader
  • Strategic Planning Facilitator

The result is a company that is ready to meet the continuing challenges and opportunities of the marketplace in a sustainable, upward spiral of Operations Excellence.

For a comprehensive overview of the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness System curriculum, contact Rick Hulse, our curriculum advisor: richmond.hulse@opexsociety.org

Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness System

As operational excellence practitioners, it is natural to seek ways to improve ourselves and the value we drive to our colleagues and the companies for which we work. Once we determine our focus, we need to decide what level of knowledge and competency we wish to possess at the conclusion of our training, and, most important, we need to ensure that the method we select for obtaining the knowledge and competency will yield the expected results.

Remember, there is no universally recognized governing body for certifications in the disciplines of Lean Six Sigma or any other dimension of operational excellence nor is there a recognized standard for curriculum or other metrics.  There are a lot of “certification mills” out there that will offer a “certification” for little cash and little effort. Don’t be duped into engaging one of those.

That said, the OpEx Society has developed the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness System, whose objective is to establish performance programs within and across an enterprise, with a focus on optimized systems and not just processes or trained individuals, such that the end result is that the enterprise as a whole becomes a high-performance organization.

Learning Platform

A broad range of training by means of various learning platforms are available to prospective operational excellence trainees. From webinars, seminars and conferences, to on-the job training and classroom training; these are some of the most popular approaches for corporate training and education. It is important to be aware of the pros and cons of each, and the comparative value that should be expected by the company.

With webinars, learning is the least costly and most convenient method of learning, but what you will learn is greatly limited. Attending seminars and conferences hold the significant benefit of interfacing with peers one-on-one, however, as is the case with webinars, you should expect to be listening to sales pitches if the event is free.

Assuming the on-the-job-training program is well developed and structured. However, the content is usually very vertical content, meaning you learn the job but not the context, the how and not the why. With classroom training, while the trainee receives a much broader and deeper understanding of a subject, the cons are likely to entail an investment requirement on the part of the trainee and the risk of non-credible instructors.

Taking this into consideration, the ideal learning platform would be one which blends several methods into one, designed in such a way that the trainee avoids the cons of one by absorbing the pros of all…

Integrated Learning

The OpEx Excellence Enterprise Readiness System incorporates an integrated (blended) learning program which melds several content delivery methods (learning platforms) including webinars, self-directed study, classroom training, and one-on one mentoring and coaching.

Teaching the theory on the subject of Lean Six Sigma, for instance, is delivered in the form of instruction given in live lectures via the Internet, online self-study presentations and videos, and offline readings and exercises from select textbooks serving as additional structured materials. The trainee gains experience and wisdom by leveraging the theoretical content into a practical application with the support of a knowledgeable coach.

Because it is far better to leverage an integrated learning model that separately teaches the theory and the practical, this practical application of the materials are being learned on a project that is of benefit to the company with the face-to face support of the assigned coach and mentor.

The blended learning method can also be described as a movement toward integrated lessons helping trainees make connections across curricula.

Curriculum

When considering investment requirements, it’s important to consider factors that lie beyond the direct cost and methods of the program. We must also consider all of the indirect costs, such as the development and maintenance of internal curriculum, specifically.

It is important for your company to realize they are not in the curriculum-development business. Thinking otherwise will doom the program from the beginning, crushed under the weight of the investment requirements and soon forgotten because of development delays with no value to the organization realized. Instead, the curriculum should be licensed from some source that largely satisfies the desired outcome of your company.

The curriculum should allow you to update as needed to reflect your actual company experience and the application of the knowledge gained through projects. Over time, this will evolve the curriculum from a state that is more general to a state more specific to your company. In essence, this process creates your company’s curriculum over time.

It is also important to understand that individual certification is not the goal, only a means to achieving the higher goal of company certification through the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness System. But as the company works toward certification, optional courses can be incorporated in the curriculum to also certify individuals in disciplines such as: Enterprise Value Stream Mapping; Six Sigma Master Black Belt; Theory of Constraints (TOC) Expert; People Skills; Certified Coach; Creativity, and LeaderStrategic Planning Facilitator

The result is a company that is ready to meet the continuing challenges and opportunities of the marketplace in a sustainable, upward spiral of Operations Excellence.

Take note of the fact that all of our training is delivered by highly experienced instructors and has a focus on real-world application.

For a comprehensive overview of the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness System curriculum and learning platform, contact Rick Hulse, our curriculum advisor: richmond.hulse@opexsociety.org

Defining Program Success

In correlation with what is discussed in “Learning Platform, Integrated Learning & Curriculum” as it relates to the OpEx ERS, this offering serves as the primary and most important task to be undertaken before embarking on this journey. This first phase is the most critical phase of the OpEx ERS program and requires a considerable amount of time, effort, collaboration, and thought.

As with any construct, the first thing that needs to be done is to envision what the final results would look like. If you were to accidentally stumble upon success, would you be able to recognize it? What does it look like? Only when the desired outcome is defined and established can you really begin the process of determining how you might organize its construction and actually build it…

Program definition then comprises the following 4 factors and their additional action items:

Vision Building

Why do you want to do this at all? What does the goal line look like? What is important to your organization? What do you want the output of the program to be? Do you just want it to be reactive, driving value through the completion of projects, or do you want to go large and create a full-blown program that spans the entire value chain? If you were to read a newspaper dedicated to the success of your program, what would the headlines read? There is no right answer to these questions, only your answer. Keep in mind, whatever your answer is dictates the outputs (expectations) and drives the inputs (resources).

Defining Success

An anticipated future state of the enterprise must be developed in which the definition of success is established. Every endeavor must have goals that serve to provide a measurement of progress and also to ensure alignment toward those goals. It is here, the first step of the first phase, when we establish what constitutes success.

These goals must be specific and not filled with platitudes and clichés. The goals have to be real, they have to be tangible, they have to be understandable, and they have to be realistically achievable.

Strategies

What is the assessment of your present state? What capabilities do you have and to what capacity do you have them? And what capabilities need to be reallocated, built, or acquired? When determining the strategies are completed, you should have a detailed definition of the program, the expected outcomes, and what the approach to deployment will be on a grand scale.

Assessment of the Present State

Performing an open, honest, and thorough assessment of the present state establishes the baseline and starting point of your operational excellence program. How can you begin the journey to the future state if you do not have an accurate representation of the present state? However, the challenge in this step is that leadership often does not want to be open, honest, or thorough, because this would mean illuminating the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Whenever someone says they know where they are without having performed a proper assessment, certain doom is guaranteed…

Tactics

Planning the program creates the roadmap for deployment. It maps the vision through the strategies to the plans to realize the vision. It should be a clear roadmap to the future state, not a series of disjointed, unaligned projects. What are the particular plans your strategies require? What needs to be accomplished in what order and to what level of completeness? Are there prerequisites? What are the waypoints?

You must define the operational excellence metrics, detailed resource requirements necessary to support the plan should be specified, and any waypoints that make sense to monitor the progress of the program must also be identified.

Logistics

Based on the details of the tactics, what are the necessary logistics to support the plans that are created? What are the source, lead time, and cost? Are backups to the primaries necessary, and, if so, are they secured?

Countdown to Launch

In addition to not defining success, many postmortems performed on improvement programs that have failed indicate a program’s failure to maintain momentum as a primary cause. Program momentum can be lost in a variety of ways. Remember that time is your enemy, and it will sap the program of momentum if you allow it. There are some specific factors which will slow the progress and which you need to guard against or otherwise mitigate. It is important to assimilate how these dangers to your program can be averted.

The People

When it comes to operational excellence, it’s all about the people. The people will determine whether an operational excellence program is successful and to what degree.

The first step in selecting a candidate for each team is to establish their psychological predispositions so they are assigned to the role in the program that best suits their natural tendencies. To do this, you need to perform a detailed assessment of the candidate, for which the Myers– Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the more common methods. The MBTI claims to predict an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and in what roles they may excel and in which they may be less suited.

A Standard Curriculum

The curriculum should be licensed from some source that largely satisfies the desired outcome of your company – and this where the OpEx Society excels. The curriculum should allow you to update as needed to reflect your actual company experience and the application of the knowledge gained through projects.

All of the above comprises a summary of what needs to be considered when defining program success.

For further clarification and advice on this critical phase of the OpEx ERS, contact Rick Hulse: richmond.hulse@opexsociey.org

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