Accuteque’s principles draws heavily on the work of Dr Shigeo Shingo, a Japanese manufacturing expert, author and founder of the Shingo Model of Operational Excellence. Principles provide both the guardrails and the guidelines for how organisations can instinctively improve their culture and align their efforts.
A new way of thinking
To truly achieve operational excellence, we need to focus on both results and the behaviours of our people. The best behaviours are grounded in a culture that is principle based, rather than rule based where systems thinking encompasses the people, the processes and systems, and the tools used to achieve desired results. The Shingo model of operational excellence asserts that successful organisational transformation occurs when leaders understand and take personal responsibility for architecting a deep and abiding culture of continuous improvement.
The principles that are at the heart of the Shingo Model are the basis for the Accuteque culture and approach to help ourselves and our clients achieve results. Operational excellence is the end game of all organisations focusing on continuous improvement.
Our 10 principles are:
Respect for Every Individual
The principle of respect must be applied by and for every person in an operationally excellent organisation. It applies to employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and the community. When people feel respected, they are likely to become emotionally invested in achieving the desired outcomes. Most people say that being respected is the most essential thing that they want from their job.
What does respect look like? Employers demonstrate respect when they create development plans for employees that include appropriate goals, when they involve employees in continuous improvement, and when they provide consistent coaching for problem-solving.
Lead with Humility
The first step to improvement is the admission that improvement is possible and necessary. This requires a sense of humility. Leaders must be willing to seek input, listen, and learn. This attitude empowers employees to contribute their best feedback and ideas. Leading with humility involves letting go of the past and preconceived notions of the “right” way.
When an organisation is led with humility, there is consistent, foreseeable engagement where the work happens. Employees know that they can point out opportunities for improvement and expect gratitude, rather than repercussions.
While perfection is an unattainable goal, pursuing it creates the environment for a culture of operational excellence. Our notions of what is possible can be changed with altered points of view, meaning that the opportunity to improve is unlimited.
Those seeking perfection look for long-term solutions rather than temporary Band-aids. They recognize that simplicity is the key to processes that trend toward the ideal.
Embrace Scientific Thinking
Scientist insists that ideas are tested rigorously with experimentation, observation, and analysis. Applying this thinking in business helps teams understand new concepts, learn from failure, and adjust paradigms.
Operationally excellent organisations follow a structure for solving problems and allow for ideas to be tested without the fear of failure.
Focus on Process
Even the smartest and most engaged employees cannot consistently produce high-quality results with poor processes. While it is common to blame people when something goes awry, most of the time the problem is related to a failed operation, not the person doing the work.
When leaders focus on the process, they get to the root cause of what created the error and improve it. They also make sure that all resources including information, materials, parts, and equipment meet the standards before they are used in a process.
Assure Quality at the Source
Excellence can only be attained when every element of work is performed correctly the first time. If there is a problem, it must be uncovered and fixed where and when it was created.
Quality can be assured only when the work environment is organized so that potential problems become visible immediately. When something does go wrong, the process must be stopped and corrected before the error moves further down the pipeline.
Flow and Pull Value
Maximizing value for customers means creating it in response to demand and maintaining an uninterrupted flow. When the flow is disrupted or when excess inventory occurs, waste is produced. Backlogs in work-in-progress create opportunities for error.
Therefore, it is necessary to avoid creating or storing more product or services than are immediately required based on customer demand. It is also essential to make sure that the resources needed to create value are available when needed.
Operationally excellent organisations understand that processes are intertwined and that the most significant problems often occur when work is moved from one process or team to another. Therefore, they recognize that it is essential to understand these relationships within the system to implement positive change.
The object is to remove any barriers that prevent ideas, information, materials, or ideas from flowing throughout the organisation.
Create Consistency of Purpose
Strategic alignment is required for operational excellence. There must be certainty about why the organisation exists, where it is headed, and how it will get there. The strategy must be deployed to the extent that individuals can align their actions, decisions, and innovations with the overall objectives of the organisation. This allows for greater confidence and better decision making across the board.
Organisations with a consistency of purpose clearly communicate the mission and direction with everyone. They set individual and team goals that are well aligned with the overall strategy and goals.
Create Value for the Customer
The bottom line is that only the customer gets to define value by conveying what they want and for what they are willing to pay. Long-term success is only achieved by organisations that deliver customer value effectively and efficiently consistently.
Creating value for the customer is a simple idea, but it is not easy. Excellent organisations continuously work to gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and expectations.