Four Keys to Operational Excellence

I am obsessed with operational excellence.

I am obsessed with operational excellence. At Berlin Packaging, we've made amazing progress building operational muscle over the years. The fact we've achieved 99+% on-time delivery every month for over ten years is one testament to our focus.

At the core of all of this are four principles.

First, to ensure operational excellence, we must focus on Employee Experience. This means our employees need to have the proper tools, training, information systems, and work environment. Imagine you are a carpenter; you need to have the right tools, training, and workshop to make great furniture. That's what this principle is about.

Second, we must focus on the Customer Experience. We want service that thrills.

Third, we need to embrace Quality and Process Improvement. Our processes need to be efficient, and we must always have an eye for continuous improvement.

Fourth and finally, operational excellence is borne from superior Asset Management. Our financial assets at Berlin are our Inventory and our Accounts Receivable. We need to be as smart as possible in managing these assets.

These four keys are all important, and we strive to be successful in all areas at the same time. But when we need to make tradeoffs, we apply these principles in the priority order I listed. What I mean is:

  • Employee Experience must be right to satisfy a customer. Your environment trumps everything.
  • Efficient practices that do not satisfy a customer are useless. So customers trump nice processes.
  • And saving money at the expense of satisfying a customer or at the expense of providing proper tools or training is short sighted.

Every company has its own starting point, but I've found these four operational keys essential in strengthening Berlin Packaging.