8 Process Excellence KSF

The 8 process excellence KSF (key success factors) in combination creates a holistic system that promotes excellence in process output.

Several authors, many of them gurus of business, have written articles and books on the key attributes of business excellence. In this article, I offer you the 8 process excellence KSF that have been distilled from these authors and blended with my own experience gained through many years as a consultant, entrepreneur, and corporate leader.

The 8 Process Excellence KSF

The 8 process excellence KSF are:

  1. Productive Processes
  2. Integrated Information System
  3. Innovation
  4. Execution
  5. Connectedness
  6. Strategy
  7. Governance
  8. Confidence
8 process excellence KSF

8 process excellence KSF #1:Optimized Process

Productive processes are processes that are both effective and efficient. That implies, they sustain the output of products and services that maintain a required quality level while keeping costs in check.

I would venture one step further and add that a perfectly productive process is one that is flexible and agile to change on demand, not only the quality of but also the actual product or service being delivered. Plus, it achieves this through continuous efficiency improvement, i.e. cost per widget output reduction.

Generally, companies have a myriad of opportunities to improve their output performance and need to turn to the science of process improvement for guidance.

8 process excellence KSF #2: Integrated Information Systems

While aligned and optimized processes are the first step towards improved efficiencies and effectiveness, information systems are key enablers to further enhanced process performance. As such, systems need to suit the means (the processes) and be fully integrated into them to create a holistic “system”.

8 process excellence KSF #3:Innovation

During the past decade innovation as a strategy has enjoyed much verbal attention yet not always successfully leveraged by many companies. Possessing the correct organizational culture and supporting processes has differentiated those that won through innovation.

Innovation is not just product-related, but can be of many different types. Here is some example:

  • Business Model Innovation—Linux, Quicken, Priceline.com
  • Network Innovation—Amazon.com, Coke Cola, Blockbuster
  • Support-Process Innovation—Starbucks, Motorola, Idealab
  • Core Process Innovation—Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Boeing
  • Product Performance Innovation—Intel, Chrysler
  • Product Systems Innovation—Apple, VW
  • Service Innovation—McDonalds, Sears, GE
  • Channel Innovation—Dell, eBay, Nike
  • Brand Innovation—Disney, Marriott
  • Customer Experience Innovation—Lexus, Virgin, Schwab

8 process excellence KSF #4:Execution

A company may possess the best vision, strategic plans or offering concepts, but without the ability to practically execute on these, it is doomed to mediocrity or, at worst, failure.

Organizational alignment, sound project management capabilities, control systems, measurement, and tracking systems are some of the keys to enhancing execution success.

8 process excellence KSF #5:Connectedness

A famous saying goes that no man is an island, and so too are processed. None work in isolation. A process has several stakeholders within and outside that support creating value. On the one hand are suppliers (including employees, supply chain, etc.), on the other are customers, clients, and consumers.

As at the individual level, success is vastly enhanced when a value-adding network is established. The purpose of a network is to bring expertise, and the right inputs at the right time, to ensure productivity is sustained.

Powerful networks are characterized by their ability to connect the right people to a situation for speedy problem or opportunity resolution.

8 process excellence KSF #6:Governance

Whether a small, medium or large business, watertight governance rules must be in place and adhered to by all. Governance includes knowing the current performance of the business and its processes through tracking dashboards of appropriate metrics.

The health of the organization and its current trajectory is vital input for appropriate decision-making, both on the shop floor and in the boardroom. Key decisions and activities across the processes (business, services, operational, etc.), must be associated with appropriate levels of accountability and controls. 

8 process excellence KSF #7:Strategy

There exists no doubt that carefully compiled and shared strategies increases a company’s chances of success, primarily as it aligns the organization and aligns resources. In the world of business process excellence, it provides a roadmap to success. The “best we can be” to strive towards, with a given way to get there.

Compiling a few weakly stung together analysis tools and charts, with questionable data, is of no value and quickly forgotten in the daily activities to meet targets. A strategy steps in to provide focus, decision guidelines and assist in prioritizing activities. Simple and practical strategy (e.g. Hoshin) development methods can be engaged to set and enable the execution of meaningful strategies.

8 process excellence KSF #8:Confidence

The mind, body, and soul of both humans and businesses must exude confidence to exploit the company’s potential for success. When the first seven excellence key success factors are in place, confidence in the organization’s ability to execute and deliver what the customers want, when and where they want it, is significantly increased.

Human capital management plays a fundamental role in developing and enhancing the personal esteem of employees and a corporate climate that promotes confidence. It is the leadership however that has the greatest impact at instilling trust and confidence in the company’s future. It all starts with the leaders displaying true confidence themselves.

The8 process excellence KSF discussed above should come as a surprise. They each have inherent the potential to significantly influence to alter the path to success. Each one alone may provide limited benefits, however, as a complete system, when all eight are collectively employed, a powerful mechanism for excellence is created.

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High Process Performance

Project Management, Program Management, and Portfolio Management

Sustain Process Excellence Gains

8 Process Excellence KSF