Operational Excellence Consulting

Achieve Long-Lasting Operational Improvement Through the Milliken Performance System

Operational Excellence, Defined

Operational Excellence is often defined in a myriad of ways. Some organizations define it as using a certain manufacturing method, being customer-focused, or keeping an employee-centric mindset. However, working on these individual elements alone will inevitably result in a plateau of excellence. To us, operational excellence must start with a foundation of safety and strategic clarity and supported by key principles.   

The Challenges of Operational Excellence Implementations

The biggest challenge to achieving and sustaining operational excellence is creating cultural change. It goes beyond setting the right goals and requires engaging your entire workforce in the process. By involving all employees and gaining buy in to the core goals and strategies, the team can develop the right habits and systems to enable operational excellence for the long-term.

Achieving cultural change is hard. The unknown can be frightening to employees. Business are looking to proven, comprehensive systems they can trust and understand. The Milliken Performance System, the underlying system of our operational excellence consulting, is a holistic system that can help your manufacturing organization transform.

Defining the Milliken Performance System

The Milliken Performance System was born through the years our team spent developing highly successful techniques, resulting in optimal safety, quality and efficiency. But what makes our system unique is the way we examine and ultimately change a business culture from both the bottom up and the top down, resulting in sustainable improvement.

Our system is built upon a foundation of safety and strategic clarity—designed to engage all associates in the uncompromising pursuit of zero incidents, ultimately creating an alignment between operations and the businesses.

The Milliken Performance System’s Pillars of Operational Excellence

The Milliken Performance System is supported by a unique system, comprised of nine pillars which build our business and our client’s businesses into lean enterprises. The nine pillars are the key to moving your organization towards long-term, sustainable growth.

Milliken Performance System's Pillars of Operational Excellence


Daily Team Maintenance provides operators with the knowledge and skills required to proactively prevent breakdowns and off-quality caused by accelerated equipment deterioration and abnormalities. DTM results in improved reliability and stability—specifically a reduction of minor stops, breakdowns, and changeover time.

5S Workplace Organization Icon5S + Workplace Organization

More than just housekeeping, the 5S process organizes and maintains the workplace environment to increase productivity and safety, reduce waste, and eliminate non-value-added activities for all associates. This process establishes the expectations of discipline and overall engagement in the organization.


This standardized training process ensures that all associates are doing the right things, the right way, every time. By modeling key areas, organizations experience a decrease in process variation, turnover, and overall training spend.

Focused Improvement IconFOCUSED IMPROVEMENT

Focused Improvement projects follow methodology to provide a logical thinking process that identifies root causes of opportunities in order to reduce or even eliminate losses. These projects generate funding while improving the capability of processes.

Production Flow IconPRODUCTION FLOW

The goals of production flow are to reduce overall system cost by eliminating system waste and aligning the business offering with manufacturing execution. Production flow improves working capital and inventory, variable conversion cost, capacity utilization, and more.


For reliability and continuous improvement, a combination of preventive, predictive, and zero failure activities is necessary. Maintenance technicians and leadership and engineers oversee maintenance schedules to address problems before they occur.


This systematic methodology helps achieve zero quality defects by seeking out, identifying, and eliminating the root causes of all defects. QM takes organizational processes beyond reliability to capability.


Early Equipment Management focuses on improved reliability and stability by “designing out” losses related to equipment startup before they occur. Utilizing existing measurement data operators, technicians, and others use a process of implementation and equipment modeling to reduce startup time and costs.


Concurrent New Product Development uses a methodology that brings together all the necessary functions at the appropriate time to effectively plan, develop, and manufacture new products that (1) satisfy customer requirements and (2) meet internal measures of success.

Our Consulting Process

Milliken has been refining our processes for decades, and we’ve discovered common elements to successfully implement change. It all starts with leaderships commitment, alignment and involvement. Next, there must be organizational alignment and all key associates must be educated on what’s important. We follow a 6-step approach to implementation.

  1. Visit one of our manufacturing locations in Spartanburg, SC to learn how our system works, and how you can make it work for our organization
  2. We’ll assess your organization and determine key objects and process analysis
  3. Together we’ll create a master plan of what an implementation would look like
  4. Create a model plant implementation plan
  5. Select a model machine or area to begin continuous, focused efforts on loss reduction driven by our zero-loss thinking approach
  6. Utilize our teach/coach/mentor methodology to replicate best practices demonstrated, and expand throughout your organization

Performance System Improvements

Benefits from a Performance System are often seen in production quality, capital utilization, safety management, and cost of goods sold. Results realized by clients of Performance Solutions by Milliken are:

  • Average ROI of 8:1
  • Capacity increases between 25-40%
  • Reduction in safety incidents of up to 80%
  • Defects decreased 40-60%
  • Productivity increase up to 50%



Put our practices to work

Operational Excellence Education & Training

We offer a number of operational excellence training courses and conferences throughout the year. Explore Milliken’s effective processes through in-depth discussion and a private plant tour at our Operational Excellence Seminar.
Performance Solutions by Milliken