Session Stryker

Planning lessons from Stryker’s Centre of Excellence

Heading up a Centre of Excellence (COE) is no easy task, as Mike Anderson, VP of inventory and planning at Stryker, can attest.

‘Setting up a Centre of Excellence is like scaling Everest,’ Mike Anderson says. ‘It is about defying the odds. It is about getting bigger without slowing down. At Stryker, we get bigger and we go faster. You have to be up to the challenge.’

‘For me it was always first getting the people around you engaged,’ he says. ‘You have to prove it every day.’ Another challenge is the sheer workload. ‘It is just a lot to do,’ he says. ‘Where do you start?’ .

He began prioritising his focus and building a team. You have to pick the right people. Without that, you can go backwards pretty quickly or the business treats you with no respect.

Anderson outlined ways of achieving what he calls ‘quick wins’—outcomes that support the value and role of a COE. The first, and one he emphasises throughout his presentation, is the customer. Follow the customer. This is key.

Next, you have to connect with the business. Identify what drives customer and financial performance improvement. The operating model is also significant, understanding and validating how the business is operating. ‘We go deep,’ he says.

Gaining support for the mission is also crucial, and he says that can be achieved by simply creating better performance visibility. And having a clear direction and strategy aligned with the company’s mission and values is also key.

Finally, finish what you start. This may seem obvious, but the temptation to move on to the next initiative before completing one is strong, but doing so will not benefit your mission.

Lauren Comiteau
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