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Welcome to the sixth edition of the Oliver Wight Class A Checklist for Business Excellence, which marks another major milestone on a journey started by Oliver Wight himself in the 1970s.
It looks very different from our last version, with its scope widened to embrace every part of the business to be pursued for total excellence. The first checklist in 1977 was a simple list of 20 questions that a manager could answer to evaluate his business. The first checklist book was published in 1988 and was a major statement in defining excellent use of Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII) systems, continuous improvement processes, and the realization of sustainable processes. Many have contributed to the know-how in this book, but we must recognize some people who have been major contributors. For those executives anxious to take up the challenge of raising their companya€™s performances to heights of excellence, this Checklist will show them the way. This updated sixth edition of the Oliver Wight Class A Checklist for Business Excellence follows the same style and approach to assessing excellence as before. The journey to business excellence is demanding, and this latest update takes into account the changes in business practices since the first printing in 2005. We had to decide at the outset what few basic principles of excellence were important enough to be at the heart of the checklist. Secondly, the checklist range has been extended from an operational focus to encompass all business processes and all business sectors. A a€? Managing the Strategic Planning Process: You have to be clear about business vision and strategy for your people to plan what has to be done to get there. A a€? Managing Products and Services: In every business sector, product life cycles are reducing. Prime performance measures are included at the end of each chapter of this Checklist, but we have not included in the book the detailed recommended measures. The scoring system uses the five-point scale, and a way of recognizing your steps toward excellence. A The demands on a successful business are racing ahead, and without an aggressive excellence program, you will fall behind your competition.
As each day passes, companies in every sector of business get faster, smarter, and more innovative. Our second assumption is that such companies also will outperform in delivering what their owners, the shareholders, want in cash flow, return on assets, and growth.
Lastly, all the other company stakeholders also have to be satisfied, especially the community and its environment and, of course, the employees who are increasingly the biggest differentiator that any company can have. Each chapter captures the vast knowledge and experience of Oliver Wight Associates around the world, and our thousands of clients, in setting out the practices and processes that are understood to represent excellence today. The Oliver Wight 6th Edition Checklist provides a process to define excellence for your company. For more detail of the journey to excellence you might want to read the companion volume to the Checklist, Achieving Class A Business Excellence: An Executivea€™s Perspective (2008). The Oliver Wight Business Maturity Map (see Figure I.1) enables you to understand the maturity of your business, and by derivation, the focus for your business improvement program to deliver real gains. You must address the root causes of firefighting or reactive (even knee-jerk) management in your business. Your priority business need may be to accelerate your processes, make them more agile, and maybe absolutely eliminate the root causes of failure in them.
Phase 2 enables a step change in productivity and effectiveness is sought by implanting this accumulated knowledge of the business into its systems and machines. Phases 3 and 4 are not yet included in this checklist, however, the standards we have included ensure that you will be well prepared for this activity. How much of your working time is spent dealing with unplanned events, and what can you do about it? Autoblog - obsessively cover auto industry, Get automotive news, reviews, car pictures commentary.
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His passion was to support companies seeking to be consistent winners by aspiring to excellence. Additionally, it now requires a demonstrated superior business performance for the coveted Class A award.

It was the very first such list in the world and, consequently, the checklist concept became widely accepted. The chapters were led by Lawrie Rumens, Peter Hill, Andrew Purton, Les Brookes, Kevin Herbert, Liam Harrington, Ron Ireland, Lloyd Snowden, and Barry Linger. Those of you familiar with the previous Checklist editions may notice that the sixth edition refers to a€?Business Excellence,a€? with its broader scope, rather than the a€?Operational Excellencea€? of preceding editions.
We have described these here in brief so that you can be familiar with the thinking before plunging into the detailed assessment.
This will be no surprise since, across the world, manufacturing and service sectors are growing closer together in their characteristics. There are four priority chapters (Chapters 1-4) where we have brought together the processes and practices that are common to all businesses and that enable the whole business to be excellent. It then challenges how you prioritize your Business Improvement Programs to the early gains areas that create a solid foundation for the future. IBP provides long-term visibility and enables use of rigorous risk management tools to permit suitable contingency planning. Portfolios require an increase in new products and services and a carefully planned phaseout of old. It enables better planning of your position in the marketplace, and order-winning plans that are more successful. This chapter challenges how well you understand your extended supply chain both strategically and operationally through supply network planning and optimization techniques to achieve best customer service and business performance. This chapter challenges whether your operations that make and deliver goods and services understand what is excellent today and how quickly they must respond to changes and the demand of the marketplace. We are mindful that against a broader and higher standard it will take you longer from the same starting point to achieve full Class A Business Excellence in practices and performance than the previous checklists. Your Business Improvement Program must be structured and targeted to deliver rewards for your customers and your owners and be the basis for winning consistently in business. In producing this latest version of our Checklist of Business Excellence, we have set a new Class A standard of excellence and established the basic principles that are important for a company to achieve outstanding performance today.
This is addressed in the Oliver Wight education, which is arranged both publicly and privately in all parts of the world.
It means adopting new processes and culture to a different, more effective, and dynamic paradigm. By doing so, you will be capturing the knowledge and experience of your people at all levels of the company into its processes and procedures so that it is not lost when people move on.
Increasingly those systems become more intelligent and require less and less human intervention in decision making. When we do a jigsaw puzzle at home, we tend to look for the corner pieces first because they are easy to find, quick to put in place, and they give foundation and structure to everything else. Ensuring that people undertake their work consistently, using the approved processes that are always up to date.
Ensuring that your people own, and are responsible for, the work that they do and the improvement of the processes they use.
Having one clear set of priorities and one set of numbers that are acknowledged and used throughout the business.
It recognizes the efforts of your people and can be used with clients and customers to prove your efforts on their behalf. With each edition, the standard for excellence increased, and the scope of the business that was assessed widened as the world became ever more competitive and companies became larger and more international. Companies holding back from keeping up with the pack may be found wanting in the race to win in business. In many ways the new best practice manufacturing companies may be considered as service industries, but whose service is to sell products. It will demand the setting of business priorities and clear communication when deploying your plans and your business excellence program throughout the business. It will also challenge your processes for Knowledge Management and your culture of leadership and teamwork. Youa€™ll be challenged to walk before you try to run, and to give value to those everyday issues that are at the heart of excellence in business. This chapter asks how well and how fast you set your product portfolio and manage products and services. This chapter challenges how close you are to real demand knowledge, how well you create and plan demand, and how professionally you control supply and demand in the very short term through sales activity driving a demand-led supply chain. Technology offers new procurement approaches that have major potential for saving, and this has significantly advanced the use of Total Cost of Ownership in critical decision making. As you start this journey to excellence, while you may be focusing on a solution to the latest business needs, we recommend that you set a total excellence program with incremental prioritized projects and initiatives, each giving you business gains in a relatively short timescale while taking you a step further toward your longer goals. This section sets out those foundations and documents the main assumptions we have made about practices and processes in excellent companies. They set the standards in their chosen markets and serve their customers better than the competition.
You may be fortunate that your business sits in a sector that is relatively undemanding, but be assured that the demands of excellence will come and will come faster than you may expect.

The process tells your company enough about itself and its market to put numbers on the targets and goals.
For such a journey to be sustained it must continually deliver results and gains for all its stakeholders.
Unplanned events may be driven from the marketplace because your customers require more than your standard processes can deliver, or they may arise from your own in-house indiscipline in the way you work, and your behaviors as a total team. Projects that eliminate the root causes of failures and embed knowledge in your company processes form Phase 2 of your journey toward excellence. People play a more vital role at this time as knowledge workers, focusing on the integrity and management of sophisticated processes and leading innovation to even higher performance.
Of course we leave the work on the blue sky to the end when we have more context to work with.
Without this standardization culture, improved processes will be followed no better than the old.
They will also own their workplace, its maintenance, and any tools, machines, or systems that they use every day. There must be one clear agenda from the top to the bottom of the company and across all its processes and functions. As a result, the list went from one page to a book, with each version building on the last.
Business differentiators have moved to managing products and services, managing the supply chain, managing the procurement of externally sourced items, and developing more effective relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and consumers.
This chapter sets new standards for assessing excellence in your procurement processes and in the planning and coordination of movement of goods into your supply chain. Alternatively, you may find that you are in a very demanding sector and that you need to be in advance of these standards to win. Left unresolved, firefighting drains management time and energy in solving the same issues over and over. This checklist is benchmarked and expects that processes and behaviors of a Class A company will be in the top half of this Phase 2 maturity. This phase may well increase the number of computer-controlled machines in your operations and office processes. So if you want to eliminate unplanned events from your business, as in Phase 1, then the four most rewarding actions are likely to come from addressing the jigsaw puzzle corner pieces.
The Oliver Wight Integrated Business Planning process tackles this issue, and you will be challenged on this in the a€?Integrated Business Planninga€? chapter.
The questions were built from the accumulated experience of Oliver Wighta€™s organization throughout the world and from the many people they worked with in thousands of companies. All of these issues are now extensively covered alongside the more traditional foundation elements you would expect to find in this checklist.
It challenges your practices for delivering sales and profit to your business through an increased number of successful launches of products and services into your market. There is no point in any excellence program if it is not consistent with what your customer wants.
This may be so, but understand that the foundations of excellence are the same for every company in every sector, and they are the entry qualification to any higher performance.
We do not see this as a complex concept nor as a demand on you that leads to eternal statistical debate. These build into a longer business improvement program that assures success now and in the future. It does involve the latest IT to leverage knowledge management and near real-time communication. Further IT advances now permit dynamic business management where business performance, including financials, can be reviewed every day and where the installed agility permits the business to respond and move with market forces in days, not weeks or months. It includes expectations of the latest practices in the program management of large complex projects, and computer-aided risk management and decision making to anticipate and avoid adverse consequences. We are setting our minimum standard as the practical foundation for wherever this exciting world takes us next.
Put simply, you know what being ahead of the game means for you, and you can demonstrate that your balanced performance to all your stakeholders puts you in the upper quartile of companies in your sector or marketplace. Improvement activity must be prioritized to the current needs of stakeholders while delivering the firm foundations for future advanced work. Tackling the root causes behind being event-driven constitutes Phase 1 of your journey toward excellence.
It is about your confidence that those systems will make the right decisions in all circumstances.
As in building a house, we risk everything if we are not sure that the right foundations are firmly in place before we start the walls, and that they too are right before starting the roof and on to the finishing processes.

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