Building an operational excellence model for fleet management

Operational excellence models are becoming a crucial tool in management. In all industries, they act as a clear and succinct methodology for companies to enforce oversight, implement processes for the organization, and establish guidelines to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. But how do they apply to sea vessel fleet management and how can fleet managers build and implement their own operational excellence models?

It starts with defining what operational excellence will mean to your organization, and then taking the necessary steps in defining and creating improvements to reach that goal.

Start with a clear definition of operational excellence in your organization.

With any strategy for making sweeping organizational change, as a fleet manager, you must start with figuring out what your idea of “operational excellence” is. One such way of formulating operational excellence in fleet management could be “we will reach operational excellence when we have successfully increased our processes for vessel availability and reliability, and we are better at maximizing profits.” Or it could be “we will reach operational excellence when we have successfully reduced off-hire and the need for off-hire repairs on all vessels.”

After making an effort to define goals and what you deem to be the top priority in your organization for your fleet, then you can begin building the steps and processes to reach those goals because everyone will have a clear indication of what they should be striving for.

Build out a plan for your operational excellence model.

After you’ve defined what operational excellence is to your organization, you are ready for the more difficult part: building your actual model. Operational excellence models are based on visuals that describe the processes for reaching goals in flow-chart like documentation.

Step 1: Establish who is involved in the process (internal vs external influencers).

The identification of roles in operational excellence will help you and your organization to better understand the part that you and others play in executing your strategy. Then, employees can be held accountable, but also know where they fit in and what their activities are in the greater picture. They will know which steps of the process affect them, and which actions need to be completed to further the process.

Step 2: Use strategy mapping for identifying the direction to reach operational excellence.

Strategy Deployment is the process that aligns and links business strategy and execution. When you create a strategy map, then your entire organization can understand and see the flow of the process for reaching operational excellence.

Step 3: Define performance management to ensure those involved are on target.

Defining standards and rubrics for employees to be measured against ensures that activities are following the correct flow of strategy deployment and that all parts are working together towards the end goals. By setting these standards, you can also identify opportunities to increase demand, or find where your performance is lacking and make changes accordingly.

Step 4: Define process excellence to address management and real-time problem-solving.

Establish guidelines for lean management to save time for more important tasks, and create business triage best practices in your organization to understand how to evaluate urgent matters, and prioritize accordingly.

Once you’ve completed the four steps for building your operational excellence model, you’ll be in a better position to begin implementing organizational change. The operational excellence framework you create will then help to guide you and your organization to making improvements in fleet management, saving time and reducing costly errors.

Building an operational model for fleet management ensures that everyone is working for the same goals, and defining clear workflows on how processes are expected to be executed. When using this model, you and your team will work more efficiently and effectively to reach organizational goals.

Read how Danelec transformed the company and its business through an integrated servitization strategy

Learn more on how Danelec Marine’s transformation took place on 4 different levels which for the customer provides more value for the money and lower cost of ownership, as well as faster and better after-sale service and support.