There are various definitions for Operational Excellence floating around, but my definition would be:

Operational Excellence is a culture and overarching management system that enables, empowers and reinforces leadership at all levels to effectively leverage people, processes and technology to achieve sustainable business objectives.

By defining Operational Excellence this way, it applies to every level and every person in an organization. It shouldn’t matter if you’re part of an executive leadership team or any employee working on the floor of a facility. Guided by a compelling vision that is supported by an actionable plan and reinforcing management system, can enable and empower every employee to understand how their role directly impact’s an organization’s business objectives.

Another term that seems to have various definitions is asset performance management (APM). But, as we see it, APM is an integrated, connected enterprise solution for leveraging people, processes and technology to improve reliability, enhance productivity and maximize safety.

Your APM program should not just consist of spreadsheets, ERP and EAM systems and historians. A true enterprise APM solution should take all of those disparate systems and integrate the data into one single view that not only gathers the data but analyzes it and provides predictive analytics for proactive and predictive maintenance.

So how do these two terms relate?

Well, according to a LNS Research survey of APM users, Operational Excellence is the No 1. APM strategic objective.

Predicting and preventing unplanned failures is the cornerstone of "Operational Excellence." Enterprise APM solutions ensure the right information is available to the right people at the right time and in the most effective manner, which are critical enablers to decision making and the achievement of business-aligned objectives.

APM can help organizations achieve Operational Excellence by:

  • Improving personal and process safety
  • Assuring asset integrity
  • Increasing asset availability
  • Optimizing expenses
  • Increasing capital efficiency

There’s no question, every business wants to achieve its business objectives, but as we all know, those objectives and achieving Operational Excellence can be moving targets. So, is it worth the effort? Might there be a “good enough” state by which an organization can thrive?

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About the author

David Ovadia

APM Product Marketing Director, GE Digital

David leads Product Marketing for our Asset Performance Management suite (APM) for Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Food and Beverage & Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG).  His experience spans brand management, marketing, and product management for consumer, SMB, and enterprise software. 

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