Striving for Operational Excellence

Written by

Tarannum Reshamwala

Senior Data Analyst – The Medical Office, Pure Health

“Excellence is not a singular Act; it’s a habit. You are what you repeatedly do” ~ Aristotle.


The concept of Operational excellence was developed by Dr. Joseph Juran around the 1970s. the concept was conceived to help business leaders in Japan build a more robust business. The Shingo model for achieving OpEx is based on Dr. Juran’s work.
Operational Excellence (OpEx), though the new mantra for businesses is not always understood, simply because the understanding of the concept is too imprecise and not clearly defined. Whilst organizations strive to achieve operational excellence, limited understanding, lack of clarity, or clear directions tend to impede organizations and the whole quest for operational excellence can feel like a futile exercise.

The most widely understood concept of OpEx is possibly implementing organizational strategies that allow the institution to outperform its competitors. But this seems generic. What really makes it possible to achieve OpEx is the principle of “Continuous Improvement” by every employee at all levels. While Continuous Improvement and OpEx appear to be one and the same, one needs to keep in mind that Continuous Improvement is one of the components of Operational Excellence. . OpEx is an organizational and personal strategy that encourages problem-solving.

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Each person right from the top management to the coffee boy needs to focus on the small sustainable incremental changes to improve the workflow, test the changes as they are implemented, solve problems rather than complain about them, fix what’s broken, challenge the status quo, search for facts, pursue continuous education and never stop improving.

When each person in the organization adopts the practices of continuous improvement and makes the practice a daily habit, organizations can hope to achieve OpEx. However, continuous improvement has to be coupled with teamwork, mutual respect, and value creation.

Role of leaders in Operational Excellence

Leadership needs to create a culture of employee empowerment, allowing employees to identify and fix small gaps or breaks in a process flow, without requiring managemental interventions. Moving away from micromanagement allows the leadership to focus on the big issues that can largely impact the business, rather than constantly attempting to fix the little hiccups encountered more frequently.

Management can further extend its support to its people by clearly communicating the organizational strategy, sharing goals, defining KPIs, creating and rewarding a culture of continued education, and providing continuous training.

In a sense, achieving operational excellence requires a symbiotic relationship between the leadership and the people. Continued personal development, empowerment, and excellence pave the way for  continued operational excellence achievement for an organization, and on the other hand, an organization aiming for operational excellence is required to empower its people and promote a culture of self-development – the outcome being personal excellence

Operational excellence has no end… it is a continuous process that requires continuous improvement by the individual as much as by the organization.

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best” — W. Edwards Deming.

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Babb, B. (2022).

Operational Excellence: Definition, Examples & How to Achieve It. [online] Pipefy.

Available at: – operational-excellence.

Stanke, B. (n.d.).

Kaizen: An Approach for Continuous Improvement — Helping Companies Deliver More Value Through Better Process Management. [online] BOB STANKE. Available at: – kaizen-an-approach-for-continuous-improvement [Accessed 17 Jan. 2023]. (2012).

What is Operational Excellence? [online]

Available at: – what-is-operational-excellence [Accessed 17 Jan. 2023].

Tarannum Reshamwala

Senior Data Analyst – The Medical Office, Pure Health

Besides holding a Bachelor’s in Science (Statistics and Computer Science) and an MBA, Tarannum is a Six Sigma Green Belt holder, Tableau certified Data Scientist, and Data Analyst. She also holds a master’s certificate in Data Science and a Certified Professional Coder from AAPC and is currently pursuing her DBA at Westford.
When she’s not studying or at work, she is an avid reader and loves spending time hiking, traveling, and swimming. She believes in continued education and lifelong learning for personal excellence.