CLE1.2-00-1 Course Introduction

Operational Excellence (OE) is an important step in the journey to excellence and outstanding performance. It supports and achieves the strategy through the deployment of specific activities and functions that focus on flow and information to achieve measurable results.  From this perspective, the course deals with the unique HE environment and the unique approaches we must deal with as strategy, structure and university operations. 

Achieving and maintaining leading performance in HE is a combination of a sound strategy AND a focus on operational excellence that yields excellent performance.


 This equation shows leading in performance as the product (not the sum), of a sound strategy and OE: A great strategy without OE, or OE with a weak strategy, will result in poor performance. Aligning the strategy with the human, process and performance capabilities is essential for success.  This is the journey we will embark on in this course.   

Operational Excellence is described as a destination that will catapult business growth as opposed to steadily climbing the never-ending staircase of continuous improvement. In addition, the foundation of OE is achieving flow – a stable and visible flow of value to the identified customer and in terms of what that customer wants.  Indeed, Duggan (2012) suggests a very practical definition of OE:

‘Each and every employee can see the lean flow of the value to the customer; and fix that flow before it breaks.’

HE is becoming increasingly complex and the task of the manager is ever more daunting. Moreover, universities need to develop effective and efficient systems to support their strategy and subsequent operations plans.  The task of the university is to ensure that the institutional strategy, through its APP and Enrollment plans are  operationalized in order to achieve the set targets.

Operational excellence (OE) is a systematic approach for achieving this goal, by ensuring that the university aligns its operations with its strategy and high-level objectives in a deliberate manner. Within organisational units, whether academic or administrative, OE provides us with the capabilities and tools to plan, implement and monitor activities, projects and services that contribute to the realisation of the strategy (at institutional and sub-institutional level).

Thus, the course will equip you as manager, with a skill set and a toolbox to ensure that planned activities are performed as efficiently and effectively as possible while optimising the resources available and minimising the potential risk.