Jack Pankoff, Sr.
Founder and

Operational Excellence in the Process Industries: Myth or Achievable Reality?

Recent assessment data indicates that in many highly hazardous enterprises, Operational Excellence is not a clearly defined and documented management strategy. In a large number of cases, it is nothing more than a group of functional continuous improvement projects with no defined metrics to measure its success. So does that make it a myth?

For Operational Excellence to become an achievable reality it must meet ten basic criteria. They are:

  1. The enterprise’s definition of Operational Excellence must be clearly defined and documented.
  2. Operational Excellence must be a systems-based enterprise management strategy. The strategy must be focused on a specific conduct of operations and level of operational discipline at the point-of-operations.
  3. All employees must be engaged and have a basic understanding of the enterprise’s Operational Excellence Strategy.
  4. Each enterprise function must align their functional organization to support point-of-operations performance.
  5. Front-Line Supervisors, Process Controllers, Field Operators, Engineers, and Maintenance Technicians must perform their job duties and tasks deliberately and correctly every time.
  6. Operational Excellence must be managed by cross-functional System Network Teams that are responsible for continuously improving the performance of each system.
  7. Operational Excellence must be based on a high reliability organizational philosophy and a zero harm/procedures based culture.
  8. Each Operational Excellence system must contribute to the enterprise having a “perfect day” 365 days a year.
  9. The enterprise must have “perfect day” metrics that are based on the enterprise’s Strategic Direction. Perfect day metrics include:
    •  Zero harm to people, assets, the environment, and the business
    •  Achieving the production plan
    • No unscheduled process unit downtime
    • Total regulatory compliance
  10. Operational Excellence requires executives, senior managers, and plant managers’ total commitment, involvement, and support.

Assessment data indicates that enterprises that meet these basic criteria, achieve and sustain a real level of Operational Excellence. In these enterprises Operational Excellence is not a myth but a reality.