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Vlerick Business School Executive Education

Operational Excellence

Oct 22—24, 2019
3 days
Ghent, Belgium
EUR 3645 ≈USD 4056
EUR 1215 per day

How it works


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Smart use of the Lean philosophy will help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. This programme will teach you the meaning of operational excellence and how to effectively use the tools and methodologies to create value for your organisation.


"Lean" has established itself as the most effective and most widely adopted improvement methodology for operations in the world. What you will learn in this programme will help you understand and implement 'Operational Excellence' in your organisation.

This programme studies Operational Excellence at an enterprise level: aligned with the corporate strategy, future-proof, crossing traditional boundaries and looking at horizontal flows, and with the customer value orientation always in mind.

You will:

  • develop an integrated overview of essential Operational Excellence concepts and practices
  • apply Lean thinking and Operational Excellence principles correctly
  • learn what a Lean Enterprise really means
  • study operational concepts like lead and cycle times, push versus pull systems, supply chain and inventory management, factory physics, productivity, Six Sigma…
  • focus on what really matters to your customers
  • discover, define and prioritise opportunities for optimisation through an optional in-company case study and exam (required for the "Lean Competency" accreditation).

This programme directly prepares you for involvement in operational excellence/lean activities back in your job. You will be able to recognise the value and importance of lean/operational excellence to an organisation's operations and identify opportunities for improvement in your workplace. As a result of this programme, your will be able to contribute to improvement implementation projects in your own operations.


The programme 'Operational Excellence' comprises two modules, each touching upon crucial aspects of operational excellence:


Strategic Importance of Operational Excellence

First, the strategic context of Operational Excellence is discussed. Why is it important in the current global settings to continuously improve your operations and how does it create a competitive advantage? The history of Lean thinking is discussed and linked to how Lean contributes to your enterprise.

Mapping the value stream

Value stream mapping provides an organisation with a value-oriented lens on the enterprise. It captures the complexity of an organisation and transforms it into a simple, visual, value stream map. It is a rich technique for organisations that require a clear view on value-adding and non-value-adding activities.

Lean Thinking and Lean Toolbox

By implementing the Lean principles, a firm can realise substantial improvements in all domains of its operations. The main basic principles such as 5S, 7 wastes, Kaizen, Jidoka, Andon,… are introduced. These are translated into practice, e.g. how to manage the workspace to eliminate waste, reduce errors, rework and injury, and to ensure that all time spent is productive.

Lean Planning & Scheduling

Adopting Lean manufacturing methods means shifting from mass production (push) to a pull methodology in which production is triggered by customer demand. The complicated relationship between planning, scheduling and materials management in relation to demand management will be discussed. Methodologies on how to synchronise these interrelated domains while overcoming any possible bottlenecks that may delay production are illustrated.

Lean Maturity

Work on your Lean maturity level. Learn from how other organisations facilitate the improvement process and include major Lean techniques, as well as soft aspects like people and culture in their Lean projects.

Company visit: putting theory into practice

Most firms stumble through the implementation with trial and error. Most of the projects fail because of resistance to change. We invite business people with testimonials of successful lean projects. Key issues that are faced during implementation will be discussed in class with professors and practitioners. Participants also get the chance to verify the theories during a company visit.


Bottleneck management - theory of constraints - factory physics

The theory of constraints is developed to enable organisations to improve information or product flows in a service or manufacturing context. It is based on the fact that in any complex system at any point in time, there is most often only one aspect of that system that is limiting its ability to achieve more of its goal. In order to attain any significant improvement, that constraint must be identified and the whole system must be managed accordingly.

*Capacity Management and Variability Analysis *

One of the most commonly ignored relationships in planning, both in a service as in a production environment, is the relationship among capacity utilisation, inventory and customer service. Increasing the capacity utilisation may require unacceptable high amounts of inventory to support customer service. And what do you do with services, that are characterised by instant consumption? In this session the fundamental relationship between demand and supply is studied and demonstrated.

Quality Management

The focus on quality is one of the hallmarks of operational excellence. An introduction of tools and processes such as Kaizen, Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will help to understand the support role they can play in helping an organisation move from a traditional process set-up to Lean quality processes.

Lean Supply Chains

In some industries more and more subunits of the finished goods are being ‘outsourced’, driving Lean organisations to encourage their suppliers to introduce Lean into their own operations. This encourages businesses and their suppliers to work together to improve quality while reducing overall costs.

Change Management

How can you assure the success of your transformation towards continuous improvement? Get everyone involved! By focusing too much on the tools, philosophies and techniques, an organisation can overlook the most effective method of change –employee commitment and involvement. Accomplishing the transition to Operational Excellence hinges on including people in the process.


An optional exam will allow participants to obtain the certificate 'Lean Competency', an international accreditation by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre of Cardiff University.

Optional: Lean Competency Accreditation

An optional exam will allow participants to obtain the certificate ‘Lean Competency’, an international accreditation by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre of Cardiff University

  • A written closed-book exam that assesses your knowledge of the concepts, methods and tools that were presented in the lessons.
  • An oral defense and discussion with Vlerick professors regarding an ‘Operational Excellence’ project that was developed by the participant.

Who should attend

  • Professionals and managers with management responsibilities in operations
  • Operations managers in manufacturing or logistic companies
  • Service or quality managers
  • Business and process managers and professionals
  • Project leaders responsible for designing and implementing change projects
  • Consultants


Ann advises you on the supply chain that best fits your strategy and your products. Ann Vereecke is Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at Vlerick Business School and Ghent University. She is Partner and Faculty Dean of Vlerick Business School. She graduated as an engineer at Ghen...
Improving your Operations and Supply Chain Management to achieve superior bottom-line performance. Robert Boute is Professor Operations Management at Vlerick Business School. He teaches operations and supply chain management in the degree programs at Vlerick (both full time and executive MBA). F...
Peter is a passionate teacher and executive coach, delivering inspiring experiences and taking you on a journey of impactful insights that ultimately result in an increase of your personal and professional performance.Peter De Prins is Professor of Management Practice. He is recognised as a dynam...


Detailed Description
Detailed Description

Next dates

Oct 22—24, 2019
3 days
Ghent, Belgium
EUR 3645 ≈USD 4056
EUR 1215 per day

How it works

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