Operational Excellence and How We Utilise It?

Operational Excellence

What is operational excellence and how do we use it; not only in our manufacturing settings, our consultancy services or our day to day operations, but ensure it’s values run consistently through our company’s DNA?

Its simply put: How do we execute business strategy more competitively than the competition.

Recently I decided to brush up on my understandings of operational excellence to ensure that we were using them as a team here at Merchsprout in the correct manner. 

I am glad I did: when writing up notes I realised that it would be a great article to share with the wider E-commerce, sourcing and manufacturing world, to either re-visit the lessons or to learn something new that will help your business grow to maintain quality and excellence.

How can you use it as a buyer looking to enter the E-commerce or commerce world, or put another way; how to increase your market share and compete more competitively with your business rivals.

Ensuring that critical to quality requirements are met, is how!

What are Critical to Quality requirements?

Critical to quality requirements are measurable performance characteristics of a process, product or service that are critically important to customers.

We actively listen to you, the customer using VOC (voice of customer) feedback to constantly hone and refine our processes.

These requirements are measurable, it is important to have a target that you can quantify and gauge yourself against. If we engage upon a manufacturing consultancy project, we ensure that we measure CTQ pre and post-project to ensure you, the customer sees the gains that are made.

If you were to extrapolate that information over to the E-commerce industry, how would you ensure that you are listening to your customer; feedback from reviews (Amazon, eBay etc…).

The operational excellence principles can be applied to all industries!

Here at Merchsprout, before embarking on a new process or service, we always ask ourselves what does the customer require; what have they asked for in the past, what have they liked or what have they disliked?

The Kano model and How we Use it

We utilize the Kano Model. We look at the basic satisfiers, the dissatisfiers, the delighters and the function of a service and design; we develop processes around these core key principles.

Learn more about the Kano model HERE.

So how can you do the same in your E-Commerce company?

Basic Satisfaction

Let’s look at some basic attributes to an E-Commerce business. If you sell on eBay or Amazon already then, I am sure you will already appreciate the importance of these items as a seller: Even as a buyer you will understand these key basic satisfaction items.  

  • An end buyer of goods expects goods to be received in an acceptable time frame
  • Goods to be received without damage
  • Goods to be free of defects
  • Goods that are fit for purpose and ‘do what they say on the tin’

These are all examples of basic satisfaction. Meaning that if these key basic principles are not met, the level of dissatisfaction will be high, however, if they are done well there will not be a great deal of satisfaction above base expectation. This is why these are the key principles to get correct in any walk of life and business.  


Once we have reviewed our processes, ensured that we have mitigated all of the basic satisfaction items and are happy with the process we developed around them. We move onto the next section; the satisfiers. These items are the ones that satisfy the customer.

A good example of this in an E-commerce setting would be ensuring that packaging is above adequate, has good visuals and has good aesthetics.


If you really want to grow into sectors and gain a better footing in your market then get the two above items ‘on point’, the next item to get right is the Delighters.

The delighter is going above and beyond your competitors, adding that extra bit of something. But be careful, if you don’t get the first basic satisfiers right, and go straight into the delighters. It can actually have a negative impact on your customer’s impression of you by not gauging the market correctly.

Treat the Kano model with caution, build from solid foundations, a sound fundamental business model is sure to follow.