Operational Excellence: The Path to Shared Mobility Success
October 13, 2021 | Reading time: 8 min
Do you know what is meant by the term Operational Excellence? Simply put, it is about optimizing internal processes and workflows. In this article, you will learn why it is worth taking a closer look at this, especially as a shared mobility provider, and why Operational Excellence is more of a vision than an achievable state.
Why it Pays to Focus on Process Optimization
The shared mobility market continues to grow: Global sales growth of around 9% per year is expected up to 2026 (source: Statista). However, this development also includes the fact that more and more shared mobility providers are entering the market and that there is a high level of competition, particularly in large cities. In any case, shared mobility offerings compete not only with each other, but also with private vehicles and public transport.
As a result of this competitive pressure, not all sharing providers are able to operate profitably and establish themselves on the local market, despite unbroken demand. The company's own business model and product must be regularly put to the test and tailored to customer needs. But an important key to success - perhaps even the most important one - lies hidden in the core of one's own organization: in the internal processes and workflows.
In any case, a study by the Harvard Business Review concluded that the companies that optimize their management methods and processes have a clear advantage over those that do not in terms of productivity, sales growth and profits. They also excel in higher expansion rates and longevity.
Striving for process optimization and Operational Excellence should therefore be a high priority. Decision-makers should not be deterred by the additional effort required at the outset to introduce an Operational Excellence strategy and the associated changes in the day-to-day organization of work. Especially not as an operator of a sharing service - because this includes numerous operational tasks that have a direct influence on customer satisfaction. Remember: The more optimized the processes, the more positive the customer feedback and the higher the long-term success.
What Does Operational Excellence Mean?
Do you question existing workflows and pursue to operate as efficiently as possible in order to offer your customers a smooth service? Then you may already be striving for Operational Excellence without even knowing it.
Operational Excellence describes a company's focus on continuous improvement of recurring work processes. Regular reflection, observation and internal feedback systems are used to identify optimization potential and initiate appropriate changes. The proclaimed corporate goal is the guiding principle here.
“We are what we often do. Excellence is therefore not a one-time act, but a habit.”
Process optimization brings you a little closer to achieving this goal every day, improving your customer benefits and securing the company's success. The concept of Operational Excellence does not specify the concrete measures to be applied to achieve this. Rather, it is a mindset that influences internal working methods and philosophies.
To strive for operational excellence, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. It is not about developing a whole new offering and doing things completely different than the competitors. Instead, it is much more important to do what you do better than anyone else. In fact, it is enough to be the best solely from the point of view of your own target groups. Don't set yourself any mental limits, but be creative when it comes to increasing your own performance and optimizing what you already have.
Operational excellence is therefore not a state that can be achieved, but a process in itself. Internal work processes are continuously reviewed and optimized. It is a cycle that is never completed, but rather shapes actions in the company over the long term.
As a result, Operational Excellence is difficult to measure. However, in order to obtain information about the current quality of the company's own performance, other key figures can be used as an alternative.
After all, by reducing effort and costs while increasing customer satisfaction at the same time, the company's profitability and economic viability are enhanced. Ultimately, the goal of Operational Excellence is also the monetary success of the company - and this can certainly be measured.
Therefore, to regularly review Operational Excellence, for example the following key performance indicators and metrics are used:
Development of booking figures
Number of new registrations
Number of cancellations
Customer feedback (e.g. number of complaints)
Employee satisfaction / motivation
Practical tip: Monitor certain metrics with the help of the MOQO Provider Portal and conduct employee service on a regular basis (e.g. quarterly).
Which Questions Sharing Providers Should Ask Themselves
It is easy to say that internal workflows and processes are the root of all problems and at the same time the key to long-term success. Putting this insight into practice and anchoring Operational Excellence in the minds of all employees is much more difficult and time-consuming.
However, since shared mobility in particular is an extremely operational field and is subject to high competitive pressure, it is worth taking the trouble to achieve Operational Excellence.
The first step is to identify the status quo and examine it from different angles. The following questions will help you to reflect and provide you with access to the possibilities and starting points of outstanding process management.
Are those responsible in your company consciously concerned with optimizing internal work processes?
Are the needs of customers at the center of all efforts? Are feedback and suggestions for improvement accepted and implemented?
Are internal processes clearly defined and transparent? Is there a clear distribution of tasks? What happens if a team member is absent?
Is there a willingness in your team to rethink and change already established processes?
How much time do you spend daily on operational tasks such as processing user requests, fleet management or payment processing? How quickly do you respond to user requests?
What are the common issues that come up? What do you need to do to fix them and how much time does this take? What would you need to do to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place?
What do you want to achieve with your sharing offering?
What success metrics do you measure on a regular basis? How much do you base decisions on these?
Move From Reacting to an Efficient Flow
As long as sharing providers do not have clearly defined processes and responsibilities, they are in a constant state of reacting to external circumstances and sometimes unforeseen events. A customer has booking issues - you respond as soon as you see the request and find time. A car breaks down - you put it in maintenance mode and take it to the repair shop. You receive a complaint about the cleanliness of a vehicle - you arrange for it to be cleaned.
It is more efficient to set standardized procedures for all recurring and possible events and to optimize them until the effort is minimal and the effect has become maximum. In most cases, the pursuit of Operational Excellence means that no new tasks are added; on the contrary, processes are increasingly simplified and reduced until only what is necessary remains.
The more you are able to stay ahead of predictable events and find efficient workflows regarding maintenance, cleanliness, charging statuses, placement of vehicles, etc., the less you have to operate in reaction mode. Identify critical points in the customer journey before they become a reality and you receive a complaint, for example.
As addressed earlier, this is an ongoing process itself. You will never be able to put a "done" check mark, but base the entire business strategy on optimizing all processes and ways of working. It is advisable to initially focus on single (sub-)processes and revise them step by step.
The following approaches and tips will support you in this:
Streamline your processes and make them scalable
Look for as many automations and intelligent software solutions as possible
Prioritize your tasks
Define clear responsibilities
Regularly collect customer feedback and measure customer satisfaction
Keep an eye on your key performance indicators
Achieving Competitive Advantages through Operational Excellence
In the end, neither the number of your vehicles on the road nor the sum of your daily bookings will determine your long-term success, but the degree of optimization of your internal processes. Minimize costs through maximum efficiency and at the same time make your customers happier than your competitors do.
Make the decision in your organization to henceforward be excellent - and act accordingly. This includes everyone involved: from the management level to the responsible employees to the contracted service providers.
The tools and methods you use are of secondary importance. What is important above all is the will and discipline to align the company with a consistent strategy for Operational Excellence.