In manufacturing we constantly talk about continuous improvement to move ever closer to excellence. But if we increase productivity by 5% per year, are we excellent?
That, by itself, cannot answer the question. It says we’re pretty good at reducing labor-related costs, but it tells us nothing about how well we meet the needs of the market.
Most lean activities in most companies are focused on that reduction in labor content. Many also target a reduction in cash invested in inventory and delivery lead time to the customer.
Let’s say progress is made in each of those too. Is that company excellent?
Again, they are making internal improvements that help them, but have they done anything to change how the market views them? Does the market truly need them to continue to grow?
What does excellence mean to you?
What does your market require of you to consider your company excellent?
Do your suppliers consider you excellent?
Do your employees work hard every day because of your passion for excellence that includes helping them live excellent lives?
Does your community believe it is better off because of your existence there? Are you helping the school system become better every day?
By confusing true excellence with cost reduction success, it is easy to self proclaim excellence to the world. But that excellence may not really matter.
Excellence, like thought leader, is a term that is defined externally.
Does your excellence really matter?