It has been said that a manager is a person who guides and moulds an organisation to help achieve its strategic business goals. However, to achieve business goals there must be increased productivity. Operational excellence helps businesses achieve those business goals by introducing high-performance processes— those that outpace competition by delivering greater value to customers at a lower cost.This and much more emerged at the Business Today Boardroom Breakfast panel discussion on “Creating Operational Excellence to Meet Ever-Changing Business Goals” that was held in Delhi on May 21 in association with Cisco.
V. Ramachandran, Director (Sales & Marketing), LG Electronics India, Ashish Taneja, Chief Executive Officer, Vertex, Rajat Mukarji, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Idea Cellular, Shantanu Ghosh, Senior Vice President & Business Leader, Genpact and David Rubio, Vice President (Services Asia-Pacific), Cisco, took part in the discussion that was moderated by Arnab Mitra, Deputy Editor, Business Today.
Speaking first, Ramachandran noted that as technology is getting rapidly replicated in the consumer durables domain, sustaining product leadership and differentiation is becoming one of the biggest challenges. “Given the pace at which technology replication is happening, the challenge has moved from building and delivery of sustainable and differentiated innovations to a scenario where speed and execution are very important,” he said, adding that it is operational excellence that makes the difference between two companies. “Operational excellence mainly has three elements: an empowered operating frame-work that ensures clarity as to who is responsible for what, transparent information systems, and strong functional competencies.”Vertex’s Taneja underlined the role of networks and networkrelated services in operational excellence. “The network is our backbone and is critical to our success in the marketplace and for operating in an agile fashion,” said Taneja, adding that Vertex has changed its business model using its network as a power tool. By offering companies a plug-and-play networkbased model—which is leaner, more flexible, and cost-efficient compared to the fixed regime—Vertex has increased its revenues by 20-23 per cent. Talking about the Indian telecom scenario, Rajat Mukarji said that operational excellence can be achieved with people, foresight and process re-engineering. “Planning and investing for the future is key to achieving operational excellence in any industry. If you don’t have the foresight or the capability, you will fall behind the curve and if you fall behind the curve once, you will remain behind the curve forever,” he said. “Whenever we found that we were a little behind the curve and needed additional investment for network building, we changed the allocation of funding and pushed it in the direction of networking and sought additional money for other activities.” He also said that companies now have to ensure excellence in service delivery from end-to-end.
Citing the scenario in the domestic BPO and IT services industry, Genpact’s Ghosh said: “The way we use networks is changing fundamentally. Our business started on the premise that we could make processing geography-independent with the help of a networked model.
Today, our business has changed; we now have customers asking ‘How can you improve my mess?’ compared to ‘Can you do my mess for less?’ that was asked previously.” He pointed out that this new customer demand can only be met by hiring people with domain expertise— a virtual network of people working towards solving a particular customer problem. “So whenever we evaluate new territories and geographies for setting up shop, one of the first things we do is to understand the demographics of resource availability there and the kind of cost structure we will have to deal with there.”Cisco’s Rubio shared his view from the network provider’s perspective. “A key factor in enabling growth and achieving the right margins is increasing productivity, not only for companies but also governments. Operational excellence plays a key role in increasing productivity,” he said.
Business Today’s Mitra summed up the discussion saying: “Everchanging business goals require companies to deploy mission-critical applications swiftly and this makes the network more complex. In order to achieve operational excellence, the network as a platform has to be well-planned and optimised to manage the challenges.
Network services enable companies to do just that.” The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Ashish Chadha, Associate Publisher of Business Today.