The initial, Define stage of an Operational Excellence program is one element that sets it apart from other improvement programs. Unlike many other improvement programs that are essentially fixed in process and implementation, only needing to define an opportunity (e.g., Six Sigma), an Operational Excellence program itself must be defined for enterprise- and site-specific mission/business objectives, strategy, and conditions. That is, where are we now, where do we need to be, and what will get us there?

The top, enterprise business/mission objectives and strategy are normally established above the operating level. Grow the business and improve profitability/mission effectiveness are examples of top-level strategic objectives. Although growth objectives may extend to the operating level, improving profitability/mission effectiveness is the most likely operating level objective. For this, we need to define exactly where we are, what we are building on, and what improvements can be made to safely add greatest sustainable value contribution in the least amount of time. Other questions need to be answered about the organization and administrative system: are improvements necessary to attain the objectives, considering the current system and the practicality of major change? Will the improvement program be implemented enterprise wide or as a proof of concept pilot: unit, site/facility?

Operational Excellence, including the program ...

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