The Winning Combination of Operational Excellence and Intelligent Factory

Do you know how to reduce your costs, improve the quality of your production, and increase your competitiveness on the market?

Lean manufacturing best practices and digital solutions are today inseparable when it comes to improving productivity and efficiency in a manufacturing context.

Indeed, Lean manufacturing, the basis of operational excellence (OE), aims to improve quality and increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes, while minimizing costs.

Grouped under the concept of smart factory (SF), digital solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, robotics and automation are improving decision-making, planning and many aspects of production.

In this article, we’ll look at how the combination of operational excellence and smart factory can help companies improve their efficiency and competitiveness in a constantly changing market.

What are the improvements and evolutions resulting from a combination of operational excellence and smart factory?

Our customers are realizing that we can no longer simply rely on the successes of lean manufacturing management to improve the performance of our company. We must also take into account the multiple digital solutions available to us.  

Today, operational excellence, on which traditional lean manufacturing is based, and smart factory are closely linked. They complement each other. Together, they aim to optimize production processes by reducing costs, improving quality, and increasing productivity.  

The smart factory’s digital technologies enable real-time data collection and analysis to better understand production processes and to identify errors and bottlenecks in the system. By using technologies to address real-world operational challenges, in results in reduced downtime, optimized production and improved product quality. Combined with automation and robotization technologies, we can obtain an efficient and safe work environment that supports employees, who can then tackle other tasks. 

In short, the smart factory approach enables the implementation of identified opportunities to achieve operational excellence that optimize business performance while reducing costs and improving product quality. When machines and systems communicate with each other and accelerate adaptation to real-time changes, production operations are much more efficient and able to respond to customer requirements in a more agile manner, increasing companies’ competitiveness on the market.  

When Operational Excellence and Smart Factory are Complementary

A close collaboration between experts in industrial engineering and digital technologies has only advantages for the company, which reaps several benefits.   

In a manufacturing context, by combining EO’s best practices and SF solutions from the beginning of a project, you will be able to prioritize what is value added. Operational excellence is a continuous improvement method that involves working well where the “pain points” are, ensuring that strict quality and performance standards are in place. In addition, by including a targeted approach to your performance indicators, you will be sure to generate gains that are in line with your business objectives to quickly create value when integrating new technologies in your plant. 

Connectivity and data enhancement projects are a preferred solution to lay the foundation for your digital transformation and achieve operational excellence.  Thanks to the Internet of Things, companies are now able to track the performance of their entire machine fleet and then detect potential problems before they occur and take action to correct them quickly.  

Make sure that the solutions you choose will support existing processes and then aim for seamless change management by tying the solutions to strategic indicators. Connectivity and data enhancement projects that are well-targeted on operational issues generate gains that are in line with the company’s strategic vision.  

Data analysis can later help you predict machine failures and plan maintenance activities to reduce downtime and repair costs. With the ability to perform real-time diagnostics, these solutions are also becoming increasingly important as decision support and planning tools in business.   


An approach that merges smart factory and operational excellence is a winning combination for successful business transformation. Improving manufacturing processes and operational efficiency is achieved through advanced technologies. All of this together will also enable you to increase productivity, improve product quality and reduce costs, all to the satisfaction of your customers. If this is your goal, please contact our Merkur experts.


MERKUR was founded in 1994 as an engineering consulting firm working for manufacturing companies inside and outside of Quebec. At Merkur we are known for our in-depth offers and our knowledge of small, medium, and large manufacturing companies. Here at Merkur we are proud contributors of innovation and productivity in Quebec, for over the past 25 years!

KHROME PRODUCT TRANSPORT is an integrated manufacturing company located in Drummondville Quebec, specializing in the design and manufacturing of interior and exterior train cars. Its strength lies in its strong engineering capacity and manufacturing agility. Among its main clients are Alstom, Bombardier Transportation and Kawasaki Rail Car.

SYNKRO is a software solution developed by Merkur and designed specifically for high-performance manufacturers. It collects, classifies, and distributes the right data to the right people at the right time. Synkro gives you real insight into your operations. Synkro is the software solution that finally connects your floor and your office!

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