Andy Marsh discusses what Brexit means for Operational Excellence and Change Leadership?
With the imminent withdrawal of Britain from the European Union there has been a wave of uncertainty throughout the UK and Europe as to how this will impact businesses moving forward. One thing, however, is for certain: Brexit must be seen as a heightened opportunity for operational excellence and change leadership to drive UK business growth.
In order to restore the necessary confidence and trust to boost the bottom line, over the coming months, operational excellence professionals in the UK will play a vital role in helping organisations and businesses navigate the tempestuous waters brought about by the Brexit vote.
Since our entry in 1973, the United Kingdom’s inclusion in the EU has impacted the global market, led by then-Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath. Since then companies have both withered and thrived throughout various economic booms and crises.
From a Lean perspective, throughout the last recession, the downturn in the economy gave way to a much more widespread and common acceptance of Lean thinking and an appetite for operational excellence. To our mind, the Brexit paves the way for a similar mindset to be adopted. The overarching need for agility, collaborative working and an integrated supply chain has never been greater.
Over the next 2 years the UK will witness much change: a new Prime Minister will be elected on 9th September 2016 and the Pound Sterling will learn its short-term fate. There will be a period of negotiation for a diplomatic exit from the EU and whilst there is much speculation, it is difficult for everyone to currently predict what kind of tangible business impact this will have.
In times of uncertainty we have seen many organisations ramp up their Lean operational procedures; some often with a more short sighted focus on cost avoidance, whereas we see the first principle of Lean to create customer value, in order to achieve a competitive advantage.
For an organisation to truly meet and exceed its potential, we firmly believe it needs to focus on developing a culture that listens to customers first, and then makes the necessary changes and investments to exploit the immediate opportunities for growth.
As we face the aftermath of Brexit, we strongly believe the industry at large needs to move forward together and strive to create a unified culture where the pursuit of operational excellence and change leadership principles are the norm and not the exception.