• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Can we dare to operate our business better in this environment?

Can we dare to operate our business better in this environment?

Is it really all about the political atmosphere? Can we look at business operability without basing it squarely on external factors? But the general view on the street which most intellectuals also buy into, debate on and get depressed about sometimes counts the political factors to be very crucial!

Do not switch off just yet! I have felt the bite and also fallen severely on the sword that it swings, but I still dare to think differently, which by the way, does not insulate me from the deep bites!

Let us start with simple data from two companies. Here, we measure the time taken to respond to customer contacts via the online chat forum on their respective websites. From the data randomly gathered over a few visits, we obtain the following times (in minutes):

– Company A: 20 / 2 / 40 / 6 / 38

– Company B: 20 / 22 / 18 / 16 / 19

Looking at the data, which of the companies would you adjudge as responding better to customers on the online chat platform?

Whereas Company A indicates a wider variation (or dispersion or spread) of between 2 and 40 minutes, Company B shows a more clustered distribution (between 16 and 22 minutes). In effect, there is better predictability of the output of Company B; thus, the process can be adjudged to be more stable or indeed reliable. Hence, customers can be provided some logical length of expectation.

Operational excellence

Operational Excellence (also referred to as ‘OpEx’) relates to how well an organisation utilises its resources for organisational benefit. It is the execution of an organisation’s business strategy in a consistent and reliable way, such that the processes can become easier, better, faster and cheaper.

All these would eventually be reflected in lower operational costs and increased revenues, relative to competition in its chosen market segment.

In relation to Company A above, the drive would be to firstly ensure a reliable predictability of the process as a priority, before one can start to consider lowering the times. Company B on the other hand, has the immediate priority to reduce the contact times as there is already a predictable process.

Basically, a process of continuous improvement can kick in for both companies, but with different priority take-off points.

In defining the word, Excellence, it implies that one has the ability and capacity to operate in a manner that will deliver a better output than the last one.

So, it follows that we must guide and direct our organisations towards operational excellence. We must instil the confidence that we can do better. It is about an organisation striving to continually improve how it carries out its operations – this promotes a culture of continuous improvement.

Would a corporate leader or executive not desire better results than the previous in respect of the entity’s daily operations on a reliable and consistent basis?

Read also: Customer rewards are key to building sustainable businesses – Ononobi

Voice of the customer (VoC)

A foremost element, among others, to activate OpEx is the Voice of the Customer (VoC).

According to ISO 9000 (set out by the International Standards Organisation (ISO)), quality is defined simply as meeting customer requirements. Since the customer is the primary focus in delivering the products and services of a business, it does have a significant voice in the business.

If we do not know what a customer desires, what is the point of creating the product or service? And as we may all have concluded on, the happiness of a customer can be deciphered by getting return-business from them or the ‘word of mouth’ that reaches other would-be customers.

In essence, customers want three main things:

Quick delivery:

Without a thought for what your organisation’s processes entail, a lot of times, customers want their products and services like ‘yesterday’! They expect rather short delivery times.

Low variation:

For example, if they have agreed that you will produce a book with 120 leaves, they may not accept one with 100 leaves. There is always a cost to the business for rejected output; being, additional resources and rework, plus the potential for reputational damage.

Reasonable cost:

Customers desire to pay as little as possible, and in fact, if they can get away with not paying at all, they will do what it takes!

It is highly essential that the Voice of the Customer is viewed as a critical aspect for consideration in business. The three essential aspects should be measured against what the competition is offering. Can your business process get to clear predictability of output on these three aspects?

Would you dare to demonstrate the principle of OpEx? Operational Excellence lends its force to process improvement as a continuum, not just to supersede the offering from the competition, but to ensure they deliver world class to the customer easier, better, faster and cheaper.

Olutimehin is a corporate trainer/consultant, transformation coach.