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Concurrent Engineering Blog

Achieving Operational Excellence in manufacturing

Posted by Concurrent Engineering on 17-Oct-2022 09:00:00

Operational Excellence is the end goal for many manufacturing companies as it brings benefits across the organisation. But how do you get there? Let’s find out more.


When you achieve Operational Excellence in your manufacturing business, you grow your business, delight your customers and get the most from your people. Operational Excellence is the process of getting your people, working practices and technology in order. 


An entire industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – is dedicated to applying technological solutions (IoT, robotics, automation, predictive maintenance, additive manufacturing and more) to get to Operational Excellence. However, Operational Excellence is not simple. It throws up several challenges that you’ll need to overcome.


In this article, we’ll look in more depth at the components of Operational Excellence and the challenges you’ll face as you implement the process. Finally, we’ll look at how you can get it right. 


Operational Excellence defined


It’s possible to break down Operational Excellence into three parts. You can apply Industry 4.0 to each of these parts to make gains, then put them together to achieve Operational Excellence:


  • Efficiency in your processes - Operational Excellence is all about working seamlessly, so you can minimise errors and deliver customer value as promised. Automation technology can help manufacturers raise quality levels

  • Greater value to the customer – Your customer is your business. Operational Excellence means companies can use their data to gain insights into their customers and their needs, then meet them with better products and service

  • Business growth – Operational Excellence helps you grow your business by becoming more efficient in how you use your people and resources. It raises standards across the organisation 


Obstacles to Operational Excellence


Of course, reaching Operational Excellence is not easy and creates upheaval. No technology is perfect. Here are three challenges you must identify and overcome to achieve Operational Excellence.


  • Using your data better – For most manufacturers, the amount of data is not a problem; IIoT systems produce reams of data. However, they often struggle to use it in the right way and identify ways to improve, especially around factory bottlenecks and production constraints. It can also be hard to measure the impact of digital initiatives.

  • Misalignment between management and workers – Your management teams may understand what they want to achieve regarding Operational Excellence, but if they don’t translate it to the workers on the frontline, you’ll never get there. Both sides must cooperate in analysing data correctly, boosting uptime and raising quality levels

  • Too many moving parts – In many manufacturing processes, there are too many areas where things can go wrong, leading to disconnects and downtime. This is especially prevalent in areas without sufficient digital input. It’s the reason you should look to introduce upgraded technology throughout your process


DPM and Operational Excellence


Digital Performance Management (DPM) is a method for manufacturers to discover, prioritise, analyse and validate ways to boost efficiency and improve the company’s bottom line. It’s a way to solve problems based on systematic processes that you facilitate through closed-loop digital systems.


When you collect data, bring it onto a single (on-site or cloud) platform and run it through a DPM solution, you could increase operating efficiency by between 5 and 20%. Now that’s Operational Excellence.


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