4 Critical Pillars of Operational Excellence Success

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Nouha Elmasri 2 February 2023
4 Critical Pillars of Operational Excellence Success

We feel your pressure, the constant nagging voice on your shoulder to ‘do more with less’. It can seem an impossibility for an already stretched operation. But the weight this carries need not interfere with the small shifts and inspiration the unlimited realm of OPEX can bring – where potential for improvements, finessing of process and visionary, seemingly small (or large!) innovations exist.  

With lofty and numerous digital ambitions across Australia’s Federal Government agencies, and the announcement in the 2022-2023 budget of investments into strategic priorities, operational efficiency is going to play a critical factor in the execution of these key Schemes.  


Not to mention the cost efficiency aspect, with the Australian economy facing headwinds from a deteriorating global economy, a global price shock, natural disasters, high inflation and rising interest rates. Emphasising the pressure on ‘do more with less’.  

As Kevin Dugan, founder of the Institute for Operational Excellence and Industry Week contributor defined it: 

“Operational excellence is when each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer and fix that flow when it breaks down. It’s that simple. What this means is that each employee knows that the product moves from process A to process B in a specific quantity, at a specific time, to a specific location; otherwise, something is wrong.”  

Promoting a Cohesive Vision 

How does this lofty vision play out in the Australian Public Sector? And how do we progress collaboration to a point where the APS is a symphony of cost effective, accurate, rapid and insightful citizen services…where all mechanisms within your Team, Function, Department/Agency, and finally the whole of Australian Government work cohesively together? 

Seems aspirational right? 

It doesn’t have to be. Each shift on the micro affects the macro. Equipping every employee with the skills, tools, and information needed to complete operational procedures as efficiently as possible, whilst welcoming their insights to make those procedures even more efficient is the name of the game - the game of continuous improvement.   

It’s about navigating the ‘hard work’ upfront to put the ease back into work. And what better time to do this than off the back of the unprecedented change and demands 2020 ushered in, consequently creating major upheaval of existing operations? With bottlenecks, inefficiencies and out-dated approaches having been brought from the shadows into the light, there’s no better time to solidify and ground your internal shifts and amp up an even more efficient, easeful and effortless public service.

Critical Success Pillars 


To achieve this, the below pillars are critical for the success of an organisation wide approach to OPEX. Encompassing these four transformational aspects as a whole ultimately creates the momentum needed to usher in the next realm of citizen service delivery and operational efficiency.  

  1. Automation/Technology – Identifying the right fit technology and automation for the most ROI and successfully integrating it within existing operations 
  2. Process Innovation – Reengineering process to reduce cost, waste and boost efficiency to deliver a more accurate, speedy citizen service  
  3. Eliminating Siloes – Creating more fluid and coherent communication between the back and front office, and across all departments within the organisation  
  4. People and Change Management – Empowering your people and effectively communicating change to ensure successful integration of initiatives 

To drive all of these forward, OPEX also requires vision – a constantly evolving idea for a progressive and practical public service. So what does ‘next-gen’ really look like from a feasible lens? Deciphering the sensible routes to embodying the ideals is a critical part in grounding these improvement initiatives. Keeping on the front foot of upcoming requirements and sense-checking the latest tools, technology and strategies to accelerate operational advancement within Federal Government, whilst delving into OPEX leadership should be just as weighted in criticality as the execution itself. Keeping your mind on critical considerations learnt from the past, to apply in present and future is all part of the parcel in unpacking and implementing the powerful opportunities of OPEX in 2023 – with that in mind, where should the focus for progression lie into 2024? 

Keen to Learn More? 


The Federal Operational Excellence Showcase will see Australia’s public sector leaders converge to discuss the above key pillars, and how they’re going about encompassing them for a holistic approach to transformation. They’ll be sharing how they’re embedding successful OPEX initiatives and navigating the next frontier of emerging operational opportunities.  

We’ll also be exploring break-through strategies underpinning public service transformation, and how to work toward delivering the next phase of citizen services. We’ll be sense-checking the latest tools, tech, and requirements to enhance efficiency, speed and reduce cost. 

This Showcase is designed to foster collaboration and is a connective opportunity to share insights, perspectives, experiences and explore opportunities amongst industry peers within the Australian Public Service. 


Join us in May 2023 to unlock the next realm of operational advancement. Learn more about the event and register your free seat today. 

Australia Australia

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Nouha Elmasri Global Content Strategist, Public Sector Network