Friday, February 14, 2014

Operational Excellence and Food Processing? Absolutely and Here’s Why . . .

If you did a Google search for Operational Excellence (OE), results would include over 10 million website hits, not including images and book reviews. Sometimes referred to as ‘world-class manufacturing’, the concept has been around for decades, and relates to well-run organizations of every type. And it’s no stranger to manufacturing. We've highlighted a few below:

  1. In a recent interview from, Mark Davidson of LNS Research, defined Operational Excellence (OE) as a continuous improvement journey. This can be slightly different for each company, but always involves strategies, goals, and objectives, often defined by industry.
  2. In another article, contributor Kevin Duggan offered 8 Operational Excellence Principles to Grow your Business. His primary emphasis was on lean value streams, and the corresponding standard work and visual flow that spring from that.
  3. In a January 2014 article, Naples News offered Seven Secrets to Operational Excellence, which took a higher level view of OE and emphasized business culture and metrics among the keys to a successful OE journey.
  4. An Automation World article from 2010 titled, Enabling Manufacturing Operational Excellence, offered a unique twist to the issue by highlighting the IT role in the OE process. A key component is the traceability and genealogy of all products and components. To quote, Compliance and governance represent a key dimension of operating excellence. The requirements of agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and others encourage excellent operation, while placing additional data gathering and reporting requirements on manufacturers. 
Is this starting to sound familiar?

World Class or Operational Excellence in manufacturing is a goal that many companies strive toward and, as noted, is a never-ending continuous journey to reach an ever elusive destination.

We often hear from food processors that manufacturing concepts don’t apply because the products or processes are so different. However, what we’ve often found is that the opposite is true.

While it’s true that the same internet search linking Operational Excellence and food processing or food industry, yields notably fewer websites (Google’s search engine registers just under 4 million). It’s also true that the concept is out there and gaining momentum.

With the recent update to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and regulation by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), it’s only going to grow.

If you’ve ever felt the pain of not meeting customer demand, been unable to quickly switch from one product to another, experienced excessive stoppage due to faulty equipment, suffered high utility costs, or endured large waste removal fees, then you might benefit from MMTC’s Operational Excellence in Food Processing, designed specifically with you in mind. The next journey starts on March 6th.  Then, perhaps the next time someone performs an internet search on “Excellence in Food Processing,” your company name will be at the top of the list. 

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

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