June 9, 2014
By Marlee Rosen
Striving to achieve operational excellence is one of the most important contributors to an organization’s sustainable performance and growth.
Companies that reach for a higher level of operational excellence reap numerous benefits -- a systemic, evolving and effective approach to business operations; a continually productive and innovative workforce; and an organization that consistently realizes sustainable growth and increasing valuation.
But what exactly is “operational excellence”? It isn’t necessarily a destination; rather, it is an ongoing journey that organizations continuously travel. It focuses on minimizing and managing downside risks while maximizing an operation’s performance and shareholder value.
Along the way, numerous factors are essential to the success of the journey. One of them is operational discipline.
Discipline: A Critical But Challenging Step toward Operational Excellence
It isn’t unusual to confuse operational excellence with operational discipline. While the two are closely linked -- indeed, the former cannot be realized without the latter -- operational discipline is but one important component among others along the journey to operational excellence.
DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS) defines operational discipline as “the deeply rooted dedication and commitment by every member of the organization to carry out each task the right way every time.”
Simply put, operational discipline means complying with a set of well-thought-out and well-defined processes, and consistently executing them correctly. It’s an essential ingredient when trying to achieve operational excellence.
Operational discipline provides an organized way to accomplish tasks and implement operational changes through a fundamental set of procedures that are specific to a business’s unique products or service offerings.
Regardless of the industry, operational discipline increases reliability and decreases the risk of a high-consequence incident occurring. DuPont Sustainable Solutions’ Safety Perception Survey of our clients across the globe, representing sectors from oil and gas to chemicals, confirms that disciplined processes yield positive results. Survey participants who had strong incident investigation processes in place and implemented investigation recommendations saw a correlation with strong safety performance.
But it is not just about safety. Operational discipline improves the execution and performance of the work practices across an organization to a point where leaders and employees consistently and continuously address the day-to-day operational needs of the business in a timely, safe and efficient manner.