It is the People Who Contribute to Operational Excellence

Establishing leadership whether in a product market or a services market is not easy, especially in the fast changing world where the life cycle of products and services tends to be very short. A look at the Companies that have grown in stature and maintained their growth story tells you of the hard work that has been put in by the Company to maintain its leadership. All in all you will notice that the leaders are driven by very strong commitment to Customer service and operational excellence. Operational excellence is achieved only with hard work and a relentless effort at doing things better than yesterday as well as delighting the customer every time.

The companies that are the leaders in their field stand apart from the rest in several respects. First and foremost, these companies recognize the importance of their human resource as the valuable asset that contributes to their operational excellence. The managements strive to find and recruit the right resources, invest on training and retraining them as well as create a healthy and competitive culture as well as an attitude in the company that encourages people to strive for excellence. Operational excellence is achieved through standardization of processes, automation, training and retraining the employees.

AT&T Universal Credit Card Company processes over 300000 new accounts per month and over a few million calls per month. The operations teams manage customer service as well as operations round the clock with ease and care. It is quite common to hear of customer service executives going out of the way to solve the customer’s problems that may have lost their card, got stranded, and landed in an emergency or some such problems all the time. The teams handling the customers as well as the rest of the operations including card processing, bills and payments etc are highly motivated and committed to providing world class customer service and believe in the motto of ‘Exceeding expectations’. It is reported that the company receives more complimentary letters and emails from customers than complaints. The company takes as little as a week to issue and reach a new credit card to its customer and beats competition at every step. How does the company achieve all this?. The answer is simple and lies in the People Edge.

The management at every level is focused on operational excellence. The human resource policy and the culture is aligned to the operational goal. The workforce is highly motivated and spirited as well as empowered. There is a great deal of attention paid to recruitment and selection process to ensure they hire the right talent with right attitude and then put them through rigorous and extensive training to train them in processes as well as in all aspects of soft skills and customer service. On job training and continuous up gradation is adapted as a part of the routine operational procedures for every employee. The company provides excellent work ethics and promotes performance recognition and rewards system to boost employee morale. By creating a highly charged, motivated and empowered team as well as by rewarding and recognizing performance, the company manages to build a work force that is happy and one that identifies with the company. It strongly believes that a happy workforce boosts operational efficiency and contributes to the profits as well.

Another very important contributor to the operational efficiency in these leadership companies is the way in which they streamline, design work flows, define job roles, duties, responsibilities and establish performance measurement systems. The processes are clearly defined with clear cut separation of duties and roles as well as high degree of specialization. This apart, the operations consist of cross functional teams and specialized teams that are drawn from the operations pool which work on various projects and help integrate the operations as well. Specialized teams include special skills team, cross functional teams as well as special projects teams that handle various process re-engineering, quality assessment and improvement and process migration etc.

Operations excellence includes and involves setting up of systems to measure and reward performance too. UCS has extensive performance measurement processes and systems in place. Over 500 processes are measured for identified critical measures and the operation’s team’s compensation is tied to quality achievement. The system has set up processes to identify performers at every level and every process and reward them with recognition as well as with incentives and career advancement opportunities.

The company ensures that each and every employee is proud to be a part of the team and is highly motivated to perform and more importantly is committed to providing ‘Customer Delight’ with every interaction with the valued customers.


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