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Operational Excellence

Benefits of Change in Operational Excellence

Jon Hogg

Jon Hogg

Director of Continuous Improvement at University of Strathclyde

Jon Hogg, Director of Continuous Improvement at the University of Strathclyde

Jon Hogg, Director of Continuous Improvement, University of Strathclyde

We sat down with Jon Hogg, Director of Continuous Improvement at the University of Strathclyde to learn more about the benefits of change in operational excellence, the necessity of evidencing that change and how to go about it. 

Jon explains his stance that ‘It is crucially important that we evidence the benefits and or change that we are making’ [because] ‘without data, you are just another person with an opinion’ 

But Why? 

It is Important to take time to measure and evidence, through data, all that we do, otherwise how can we possibly know that our change has been successful? How can we know what the impact is?  Simply put, teams must validate what has (or has not) been achieved, as well as focusing on the right initiatives to enhance business cases.  Hogg argues that industry leaders must always evaluate contribution to OpEx and strategic plans, as well as actually demonstrating the impact that has been had. 

‘There are 3 fundamental questions we must ask ourselves before, during and after every project. Why are we doing this in the first place? What does success look like?  How will we know when it’s been a success?’  Across most teams, the first two questions are a doddle, but the latter can be more difficult.  

They are all, however, ‘key for Operational Excellence activity’.  

Steps to Evidencing the Benefits of Change in Operational Excellence 

  • Clearly define the change 
  • Consider benefits and align with priorities 
  • Consider the data required and create plan  
  • Capture baseline data  
  • Implement changes 
  • Capture post improvement data and calculate benefits 
  • Communicate the benefits 

‘At Strathclyde, we have identified 5 types of measurable benefits’, explains Jon.  

‘Financial, Capacity, Operational, Experience/Engagement and Quality’.   

These headers can be looked at from various angles, financial assess cost saved, increased revenue, as well as office space saved (moreso post pandemic).  Capacity looks at staff capacity savings, as well as time saved (in hours).  Operational focuses around improved lead time, better communication, and increased productivity/conversion rate.  Improved stakeholder experience is a big one too.  Lastly, we have quality- this refers to reduced calls and emails, less rework/errors, and increased compliance. 

Data Trumps adjectives 

Hogg stresses, that ‘if you don’t spend time at the beginning of a project to get data on the baseline position, you will have no idea whether your project has been a success or not’. 

This is where Strathclyde’s ‘Measurable Benefits Data Plan’ is useful, in assisting project teams in focusing on measurable benefits.  The plan: 

  • Clearly identifies how each benefit will be measured  
  • Describes the data required and the method of collection  
  • Drives baseline and post improvement data capture 
  • Encourages ownership of data capture  
  • Helps prevent you trying to measure too much  

Discover the range of executive events here.