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Oliver Wight Blog

Process Sustainability – Why does it Matter?

By Rod Hozack, Partner at Oliver Wight Asia Pacific

21 January 2019


Once a company deploys a business-improvement programme, has achieved its goals and reaped the benefits, there is nothing more to do, right? Wrong. Process sustainability is a crucial element in any business success story and has a number of benefits. Ultimately, those companies who do the fundamentals extraordinarily well are the ones who will come out on top. In this blog we look at what process sustainability is and why it should matter to you.

What is process sustainability?
Process Sustainability is a self-perpetuating cycle, to not only maintain results, but to continually build improvement through the application of a disciplined approach. This approach should be applied via the five keys of process sustainability which include: ‘education and training’, ‘communication and feedback’, ‘formality and discipline’, ‘role descriptions’ and ‘appraisals, recognitions and reward’. The primary impact of process sustainability mechanics is to ensure that the ‘routine things are done routinely’, which will in turn free people to work on strategy and innovation.

It is important that process sustainability is not done in isolation. There will, and should be, continual process and system improvement in place simultaneously, which should also be integrated into the sustainability cycle.


Why should you adopt process sustainability?
As identified in Great by Choice*, one of the three core element’s that sets 10x companies apart from the ‘also rans’ is fanatic discipline. However, there is often the misperception that the formality and discipline required for sustainability can stifle creativity and flexibility. This is in fact the opposite – it liberates creativity because there are boundaries to work within. Get it right and the results can be remarkable. Three of the most significant benefits include:

I)               Ongoing benefit realisation

II)              Prevention of regression and atrophy

III)            A solid platform for building further improvement

Continual improvement is what divides the good from the great in business, and the organisations who understand that ‘improvement’ is an on-going journey, are the organisations that will achieve the greatest success.


In our next blog we look in more detail at the Five Keys of Process Sustainability. For more on this topic, download our process sustainability white paper here.

*Jim Collins and Morten T Hansen