Agility Systems – The Engine at the Heart of Operational Excellence

Definition of Operational Excellence

Operational Excellence is defined as the effective management of operations, process safety, personal health & safety, asset integrity, plant reliability and costs in a manner commensurate with achieving and maintaining world-class performance on a sustainable basis.

Key Elements in the Drive for Operational Excellence

The framework for achieving Operational Excellence is built upon a cross-functional understanding of Operational Excellence objectives and the team work necessary to deliver world class performance. It is the cornerstone of safe and effective operations and is designed to ensure a robust connection between corporate standards, internal & external requirements and operations management. This framework is underpinned by a set of performance expectations that define the standard of operations delivery performance required to achieve Operational Excellence and these performance expectations have their foundation in corporate standards, processes, procedures and working practices.

This provides a common structure, defines minimum standard requirements, promotes standardization across the business, provides a means of measuring performance and creates a basis for continuous improvement. Consequently, the framework contains a set of expectations for Operations Excellence that enables everyone in the organisation to understand what sustainable success looks like, how it is achieved and their role in achieving it.  The development of a solid framework for achieving Operational Excellence requires the following three key elements:

A leadership team that upholds core values, demonstrates and encourages ownership and accountability across the business, develops and encourages a culture of teamwork, provides strong functional governance, manages risks and opportunities, focuses on value generation for all stakeholders, and establishes plans and targets for business performance and continuous improvement.

An organisation with the capacity and competency to deliver against the business objectives, a defined structure that facilitates simple governance processes and where the cross-functional interfaces are clearly understood, well defined and communicated roles, accountabilities and responsibilities, systematic processes for personnel development and job succession planning, and the culture and behaviors associated with a learning organisation.

An established operations Management System that meets the needs and performance expectations of the business, has a defined set of key processes and standards set and owned both functionally and by the operations team as a whole, utilizes fit for purpose systems and tools for the management of key processes, the robust collection of performance data, and the monitoring and analysis of the business, and incorporates assurance and continuous improvement processes as an integral part of doing business.

Common Challenges to Achieving Operational Excellence

Common challenges to achieving operational excellence are:

  • Lack of clarity regarding roles and responsibilities
  • Lack of accountability
  • Poor knowledge retention
  • Inconsistent personnel development programs
  • Abundance of text-based procedures and not enough processes
  • Processes, where they exist, are not robust and transparent
  • Poor understanding of cross-functional processes
  • Process accuracy is difficult to maintain
  • Too many documents but not enough real information
  • Text based information not readily understood
  • Documentation stored in multiple disconnected repositories
  • Locating relevant information is not easy
  • Poor document control
  • Lack of appreciation of risk management measures down through operations team
  • Inconsistent risk management performance
  • Lack of appreciation of compliance requirements down through operations team
  • Inconsistent compliance performance
  • Poor audit, non-conformance and corrective action tracking
  • Dysfunctional management of change process
  • Inadequate use of management of change process
  • Agility Systems – The linchpin in the drive for Operational Excellence

The Agility System is a comprehensive and powerful business management solution that integrates people, processes, documentation, risk management and compliance and provides the bedrock required to facilitate an organisation’s drive for Operational Excellence.  The functionality of the Agility System enables roles to be defined linking people to processes and tasks thus ensuring that people are fully aware of their exact responsibilities and ownership and accountability are increased. The Agility System will ensure that people have the appropriate level of experience and training commensurate with their roles and that they have access to the exact information they need, when and where they need it, resulting in the creation of a safer and more efficient working environment.

The Agility System process mapping tool enables the quick, easy and effective creation of robust, up-to-date, clear and intuitive, role-based process maps that enhance organisational transparency, improve collaboration and identify exactly who does what, where and when through the linking of critical tasks to all the pertinent documents, risk management measures and compliance requirements associated with successfully executing the relevant task.

The Agility Systems document processing functionality offers a range of powerful document control features which can seamlessly integrate with multiple existing and legacy enterprise document management solutions. The built-in, role-based, workflow management provides complete control and traceability over document approval, revision, periodic review, feedback and history tracking, increasing document processing transparency, ensuring document relevancy and accuracy and improving document ownership and usage.  The powerful risk management functionality provides a means of cascading critical risk management measures down through all levels of the operations team by linking these critical measures to applicable process activities thus assigning risk management ownership across the operations, increasing accountability for assuring that the measures are taken, improving the consistency of process outcomes and reducing the overall risk to Operational Excellence objectives.

The Agility Systems compliance functionality is designed to enable operations to demonstrate to internal auditors, external auditors, regulatory bodies and other similar stakeholders that all current compliance requirements and desired best practices are accurately communicated, deployed and fully implemented.  This is achieved by linking the compliance requirements of multiple standards to applicable documents and process activities thus assigning ownership for the compliance requirements across the operations, increasing accountability for assuring that the requirements are met, improving the consistency of process outcomes and reducing the overall risk to operational excellence objectives.

The powerful Management of Change (MoC) module is based on a standard, cross-functional approach to processing planned and unplanned MoC issues and, as a result of its integration with the other main elements of the Agility System, it facilitates a holistic assessment of the impact of change on people, processes, plant, documents, risk management and compliance. The ability to evaluate the effect of change on all of these interdependent management system elements, coupled with the in-built, highly configurable, cross-functional, role-based workflow management capability, provides operations teams with an extremely effective tool for identifying, reviewing, implementing and closing out change in a manner consistent with meeting the objectives of Operational Excellence.

For more information, please contact Daniel Christian at BusinessPort 01224 330000 or

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