How do Operations Executives deliver innovative operational value?

Keeping the engine running effectively while delivering continuous innovative solutions is a daily trade-off for many COOs, Supply Chain GMs and other operations executives in leading Food & Beverage, Retail, FMCG and Pharmaceutical organisations.

Continued consumer pressures combined with regulatory and financial pressures, means it’s a daily challenge to deliver their operational and improvement priorities.  An additional complexity and challenge for these leaders is the lack of knowledge, engagement and understanding from many of their teams in effectively combining their daily operational activities with a continuous innovative improvement solution approach.

During my numerous engagements, I have seen these seasoned executives struggling with:

  • Schedule sufficient time to prioritise the extensive number of “small” initiatives with clear business cases, analysis and acceptable ROI’s, IRR’s and/ or NPV to meet their KPI’s and other operational targets
  • Ensure that operational issues are quickly and effectively dealt with, and have the necessary processes, policies & procedures and control metrics in place to avoid repetition
  • Attract operational specialists that live and breathe a combination of day-to-day operational experience and are able to translate existing bottlenecks, non-value add processes into sustainable innovative operational solutions
  • Guide and train their teams to identify and deploy innovative solutions as part of their hectic day-job

 Recently, I have seen examples in which:

  • Raw materials supply issues created delivery risks for customers
  • Manual interventions were needed to ensure transport effectiveness
  • International food & drugs regulations were not appropriately communicated internally, resulting in re-work


These and many other challenges show that it’s crucial for these executives to transition from attracting generic operational team members and operational excellence consultants to effective hands-on innovative operational specialists that are able to conduct hybrid roles and are able to drive innovative solutions, while having the knowledge and experience to also pick-up day-to-day activities when needed. 

The challenge, however, is how to change this operational behaviour from your current supply chain or operations team towards this “new” role. Many leading Food & Beverage, Retail, Pharma and FMCG organisations have started to attract these hybrid operational specialists, able to deliver structured innovative solutions, while embedding these directly into their operations.  Additionally, these new operational managers are able to speak multiple “languages”, from the “shop floor” to “middle” and “executive” management, with an understanding around IT/ Technology and finance & accounting. The questions is therefore not how you, as a COO. Supply Chain GM or other Operations Executive manage the different improvement and daily operational activities, it’s how can you educate your teams to transition towards this new hybrid role?

At Unique Excellence we educate operational executives and their teams to adopt Operational Innovation solution development as part of their day-to-day role. If you like to know more about how we’re able to assist you in this transition, please contact us for your initial conversation.

Read more by Micha Veen, here


Arrange a Conversation 


Article by channel:

Read more articles tagged: Featured, Leadership, Organisational Design

People & Change