Global Process Excellence™: Defining the Roadmap for Best In Class Results

Best in Class

Global Process Excellence™” was to be the platform on which we would propel the company’s Operations upward toward Best In Class status.  Our Call To Action objectives were clear:

  • We had a clear requirement to improve our profitability
  • We needed to respond to customer expectations for increased value and a consistent, exceptional customer experience in all Distribution Centres
  • We needed to lean out the operations and improve our productivity
  • We needed to create Best in Class capabilities
  • We needed to enable profitable growth on the back of an enhanced Operating model, capacity and capabilities
  • And we needed to unleash the tremendous experience and expertise that resided within our employees

Now we needed to formulate our Roadmap: the Approach, the Mandate, a set of Ground rules, and a process of Governance to bring together everything that would now be called Global Process Excellence™.


The approach we would take also had to create the Culture Change required to make achieving all of these objectives possible.  We had defined that we were going to simultaneously address all of the major business processes which govern the way a Distribution Centre was run and we would do this globally.

With this in mind we knew that we needed to engage the best experts we had, from each Region, for each of these processes.  These experts together would form the Global Process Excellence teams.  Their charge would be to define the current state processes and  Best In Company processes in the company, and in turn Best in Class processes across the industry.

By way of example, the “Receiving” Global Process Excellence team would consist of a Receiving expert from each of the Regions.  The expert would work with each individual location within their Region and represent them on the Global Process Excellence team.  

They would also have an Executive Sponsor to mentor and guide them and to remove obstacles in their way.  In all cases we were looking for individuals who had an affinity for, and expertise in, that particular subject area, who were change agents, and who were passionate about making improvements.

This set the stage for the Cultural Change we were looking for.  Most of these individuals had never met their peers doing the same work in other facilities.  They had generally never travelled to other facilities to benchmark how things were done elsewhere.  

They had never really been asked what improvement ideas they had in a concerted way.  And they had never had the chance to learn, to develop their Global teamwork and management skills, and to contribute on such a vast scale.

Global Process Excellence

This was going to change with Global Process Excellence.  We were going to empower everyone to make the improvements that we all wanted.  

And we wanted them to launch this process without regard to any constraints, whether that be financing or resources for instance, so that they came up with the best possible solutions.


We did not want every team to run off in their own direction as there were a set of tasks that we needed everyone to complete.  As such we needed to create a construct under which each team would work.  

This construct would delineate what our expectations were while still giving them the room to stretch their learning, their thinking and their concepts of what could be.  We wanted them to Embrace The Possibilities.

As defined in Global Process Excellence (Part 1) we had a team in place for each business process: Receiving/Putaway, Cycle Counting, Line Efficiency/Line Scheduling, Kanban Management, Automation, Quality Management, B2C Picking/Shipping, B2B Picking/Shipping, and Repair.

The mandate we set for each Process team was as follows:

  • Define the current metrics and performance levels for a process (eg. UPPH (Units per person per hour), Cycle Time, Efficiency, CPU (Cost per Unit)) in each Distribution Centre
  • Determine what the current processes are, in all their variations across locations, and what is the current Best In Company process
  • Research what the Industry Best in Class process/benchmark is along with the requirements (eg. Capex, Resource, Systems) to accomplish this
  • Develop the business case and proposal to deploy Best In Company/Best In Class processes worldwide
  • Use Lean/Continuous Improvement process improvement techniques
  • Define a quick action plan (ie. What can be implemented within 1 month globally) as well as a 3-6 month action plan include metrics for tracking (eg. UPPH, CPU, …), and a 1-2 year action plan

We felt that this mandate was structured enough that we were going to derive truly game changing results which would live up to the name “Global Process Excellence“.  

Yet within the mandate there was enough latitude in how the teams would get their results, and enough challenge and scope in what they had to deliver, that we would create an unprecedented environment and Culture of learning, sharing, teamwork, empowerment, employee development, change management experience and leadership training.


With so many teams and individuals and processes working simultaneously under the banner of Global Process Excellence a process of governance was essential as well.  We needed to be able to track performance, provide guidance and course corrections, help remove obstacles, and recognize progress all in real-time.

We asked each process team to appoint a leader who would schedule regular (no less frequently than weekly) meetings with the team.  Further it was mandatory for each team to travel to at least one location at the beginning of the project to meet their team members face to face for a 2-3 day workshop to accelerate the beginning of the effort and build those critical interpersonal relationships.  Every Executive would also serve as a Sponsor for one or more teams and regularly review progress.

And on a monthly basis we would have a Global Process Excellence Council meeting wherein each team would present their status and roadmaps to everyone else.   Everyone was free to provide feedback, suggestions, ideas and support.

Ground Rules

Finally we needed a set of Ground Rules.  As many of the employees had never been asked to participate in such a Global Game Changing project to achieve operational excellence we wanted to ensure that they knew what was expected of them.  Further we wanted to define the Culture that we had to create.

  • Process leaders and team members must be change agents able to work collaboratively and able to deploy processes into their respective regions
  • The Process team must eliminate any regional/site inconsistencies in any process and ensure that a single uniform process is deployed globally
  • The Process team must strive for excellence
  • All individuals must look beyond Site/Regional biases so that we end up with the best process defined and deployed company wide for our employees and our Customers
  • All processes we are performing for a specific Customer must be consistent worldwide
  • Anyone can learn from anyone else.  If someone else is doing something better than you have the courage and conviction to recognize this and bring it back to your own facility to make you and your team that much better.
  • There must be NO customization in the processes for any facility
  • All investments required must meet return on investment/payback levels (eg 6-18 month return)

This was not going to be a project which would deliver minor, incremental improvements.  Our Ground Rules set a very high bar in our expectations from everyone.

We had our Objectives.  We had defined our Roadmap.   All of the team members for each of the Process teams had been selected.

We were now ready to formally launch Global Process Excellence to all of our employees around the world!

Originally published February 13, 2017.