Q&A with James Booth, Vice President of Global Operational Excellence, VF
Operational Excellence is a term used by companies, including VF, to describe how an organization improves its processes, products and services, and ultimately, its performance. VF recognizes the importance of developing capabilities to enable continuous improvement, and works to establish them as a norm across the organization.
James Booth, Vice President of Global Operational Excellence, joined VF in October 2017 to lead the Supply Chain’s ‘Faster Together’ initiative, which utilizes collaboration across the company’s global operations to develop, make and deliver product faster to its customers and consumers.
Below, James discusses how operational excellence benefits VF and what it’s like to work in this role at the company.
What does your day-to-day work entail?
I’m focused on building a culture of year-over-year improvement. The operational excellence approach can be applied across the organization, but we’re starting with our supply chain and looking specifically at product supply in Jeanswear. Day-to-day, I am working to improve organizational effectiveness across VF’s product supply by standardizing metrics and processes, and training teams to build their capabilities.
Why is this work important for VF?
Consumer expectations, and the manner in which consumers buy products, are constantly changing. With that in mind, operational excellence drives continuous improvement and looks for all opportunities to remove variance from our processes. I’ve learned that in any stable process, variation is the enemy. Through operational excellence, we’re creating stable processes to deliver year-over-year value to the corporation – in terms of speed, expense and cost of goods.
How are you building operational excellenceas a capability for VF?
When I arrived, there were already people in the organization working in operational excellence. Now, we’re bringing those associates together and redeploying our resources to create organization-wide, consistent processes. We’re developing our talent and providing them with the confidence and tools that will inevitably contribute to our organizational success.
What are your goals in your role with the company?
My goals include further developing our standardized product supply metrics, engaging associates in our internal manufacturing operation and creating excitement around process improvement.
What have you learned in your time at VF, so far?
We’ve got a great workforce with an even better work ethic. Every day, teams at VF work to grow their expertise and challenge themselves to do things in new ways that benefit the business. I’ve learned that VF associates are open and eager, and knowing this gives me a greater sense of purpose.