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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Operational Excellence for Maritime Shipping Firm in Asia-Pacific


Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Obeya to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A maritime shipping company in the Asia-Pacific region is struggling with its Obeya room efficiency.

Despite a robust market presence and a strong fleet, the organization's decision-making process has become sluggish, leading to delayed responses to market changes and operational challenges. The organization seeks to revamp its Obeya practices to improve strategic alignment and operational agility.



The underlying issues with the Obeya room's functionality could stem from a few potential areas. Firstly, there might be a misalignment between the company's strategic objectives and the operational data presented within the Obeya room. Secondly, the current Obeya process may lack the necessary cross-functional collaboration, resulting in siloed information and decision-making. Lastly, the absence of a clear Obeya protocol could lead to inefficiencies in meetings and decision-making processes.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

The organization can benefit from a structured, multi-phase approach to revitalize its Obeya room. This methodology not only ensures a comprehensive analysis of the current state but also facilitates a step-by-step execution towards achieving Operational Excellence.

  1. Assessment and Alignment: Evaluate the existing Obeya structure and processes. Identify the strategic objectives of the organization and how they align with the information displayed in the Obeya room. Key activities include stakeholder interviews, observation of Obeya sessions, and a review of current performance metrics. Insights gained will highlight misalignments and process gaps.
  2. Design and Planning: Develop a redesigned Obeya framework that aligns with the company's strategic goals and promotes cross-functional collaboration. Activities include designing new Obeya protocols, selecting relevant KPIs, and planning for the integration of digital tools. Common challenges include resistance to change and ensuring buy-in from all stakeholders.
  3. Implementation: Execute the new Obeya framework, including training sessions for team members and establishing new communication channels. Key activities involve the roll-out of new processes, a gradual phase-out of old practices, and monitoring adoption rates. Deliverables at this stage include training materials and a revised Obeya guidebook.
  4. Monitoring and Continuous Improvement: Establish mechanisms for ongoing evaluation of the Obeya room's effectiveness. Activities include regular performance reviews, feedback sessions, and iterative adjustments to the Obeya processes. Potential insights include areas for further process enhancements and opportunities for digital integration.
  5. Strategic Refresh: Periodically revisit the Obeya strategy to ensure it remains aligned with the organization's evolving goals. Key activities include strategic reviews, benchmarking against industry best practices, and incorporating new business intelligence tools. Challenges may arise from the dynamic nature of the maritime industry and the need to stay responsive to change.

Learn more about Operational Excellence Continuous Improvement Business Intelligence

For effective implementation, take a look at these Obeya best practices:

Obeya - The Brain of your Project (29-slide PowerPoint deck)
The Anatomy of an Obeya Room (1-page PDF document)
Obeya Toolkit: Elevate Visual Management Efforts (153-slide PowerPoint deck)
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Obeya Implementation Challenges & Considerations

One consideration is the cultural shift required for the successful adoption of a new Obeya process. Teams may need to adjust to new ways of working and communicating within the Obeya room. Another point of discussion is the integration of technology. Identifying the right digital tools to support the Obeya can enhance decision-making but requires careful selection to ensure they complement, rather than complicate, the process. Lastly, the scalability of the Obeya process is crucial. As the organization grows, the Obeya must adapt to handle increased complexity without sacrificing efficiency.

Upon full implementation, the organization can expect improved decision-making speed, increased operational efficiency, and enhanced strategic alignment. These outcomes should lead to better market responsiveness and potentially increased market share. One can quantify these results by measuring improvements in cycle times, reduction in operational costs, and growth in customer satisfaction scores.

Implementation challenges may include resistance to change from team members accustomed to existing processes, the complexity of integrating new digital tools, and maintaining the discipline of regular Obeya sessions amidst other operational demands.

Learn more about Customer Satisfaction

Obeya KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.
     – Lord Kelvin

  • Decision-Making Cycle Time: Measures the speed of decision-making processes; critical for maintaining agility in the fast-paced maritime industry.
  • Operational Cost Savings: Tracks cost reductions achieved through more efficient Obeya processes; a direct indicator of improved operational efficiency.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score: Reflects the company's ability to meet customer needs; higher scores may indicate successful strategic alignment.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Implementation Insights

Throughout the implementation process, it became evident that the key to a successful Obeya lies in the alignment of the room's physical and digital elements with the strategic goals of the organization. According to a McKinsey study, companies that align their management practices tightly with their strategic objectives are 5 times more likely to achieve operational excellence.

Another insight is the importance of fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the Obeya room. Encouraging team members to regularly question and refine processes leads to sustained efficiency gains over time.

Obeya Deliverables

  • Obeya Process Framework (PDF)
  • Operational Efficiency Plan (PowerPoint)
  • Change Management Playbook (PDF)
  • Digital Tools Integration Guide (PDF)
  • Performance Management Report (Excel)

Explore more Obeya deliverables

Obeya Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Obeya. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Obeya subject matter experts.

Obeya Case Studies

A global shipping conglomerate successfully implemented a new Obeya process, resulting in a 20% reduction in decision-making cycle time and a corresponding uptick in market responsiveness. Another case study involves a regional maritime firm that integrated digital dashboards into its Obeya room, leading to a 15% decrease in operational costs and improved strategic decision-making.

Explore additional related case studies

Aligning Obeya with Corporate Strategy

The integration of Obeya rooms into a company’s strategic framework requires meticulous planning and alignment. The Obeya must reflect and support the corporate strategy to be effective. A study by BCG highlights that companies that successfully align their operational tools with their strategic vision can see a 30% improvement in strategic execution versus those that do not.

To achieve this alignment, it is essential to involve key stakeholders in the design of the Obeya process. This includes having leaders from various departments participate in the planning stages to ensure that the information and metrics displayed are relevant and contribute to strategic goals. Regular reviews of both the Obeya setup and the corporate strategy should be conducted to maintain this alignment over time.

Learn more about Corporate Strategy

Obeya Room Digitalization

Digitalization of the Obeya room is a significant undertaking. Selecting the right digital tools is critical to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency. According to Gartner, by 2025, over 70% of teams will rely on workstream collaboration tools as the primary means of communicating, coordinating, and sharing information.

When incorporating digital tools into the Obeya, the focus should be on selecting software that provides real-time data analytics, fosters collaboration, and integrates seamlessly with existing systems. It is also essential to provide adequate training to ensure all team members can effectively use these tools. The goal is to create a digital Obeya environment that complements the physical space and provides a holistic view of the organization’s operations.

Learn more about Data Analytics

Measuring Obeya Room Effectiveness

Measurement of the Obeya room’s effectiveness hinges on the establishment of clear KPIs that are directly linked to the company’s strategic objectives. For instance, Accenture reports that companies that define and track specific metrics related to their operational processes can achieve up to a 65% improvement in their ability to meet or exceed their operational targets.

These KPIs should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain relevant and reflect the organization’s evolving goals. By tracking these metrics over time, leaders can gain valuable insights into the Obeya room's performance and make informed decisions on where to focus continuous improvement efforts.

Obeya Room Scalability

As organizations grow, the Obeya room must scale accordingly. This scalability should be considered from the outset to avoid future disruptions. According to a report by McKinsey, effective scalability of management practices can lead to a 20-30% increase in operational efficiency for growing companies.

Scalability involves not only the physical space of the Obeya room but also the processes and digital tools used within it. The Obeya must be able to accommodate an increasing number of projects, a growing team, and more complex data without losing its effectiveness. This may involve modular processes that can be expanded or adapted as needed, and digital tools that are scalable in terms of user access and data handling.

Learn more about Disruption

Additional Resources Relevant to Obeya

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Reduced decision-making cycle time by 15% post-Obeya implementation, enhancing agility in the maritime industry.
  • Achieved 12% operational cost savings through more efficient Obeya processes, directly improving operational efficiency.
  • Increased customer satisfaction scores by 8 points, indicating successful strategic alignment and improved service delivery.
  • Realized a 20% improvement in strategic execution, aligning Obeya rooms with corporate strategy and enhancing overall performance.
  • Encountered resistance to change during the cultural shift, impacting the pace of adoption and initial efficiency gains.

The initiative has delivered notable successes, evident in the significant reduction in decision-making cycle time, substantial operational cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction scores. These achievements reflect the successful alignment of the Obeya room with the company's strategic objectives, enhancing operational efficiency and service delivery. However, the resistance to change during the cultural shift impeded the pace of adoption and initial efficiency gains. This highlights the need for more robust change management strategies and proactive engagement to overcome resistance and drive faster adoption. Additionally, while the results demonstrate substantial improvements, there is still room for further enhancement, particularly in addressing the initial resistance and ensuring sustained efficiency gains over time. Moving forward, it is crucial to focus on fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the Obeya room and refining change management approaches to drive faster and more comprehensive adoption.

For the next phase, it is recommended to conduct a comprehensive review of the change management strategies and refine them to address the resistance encountered during the cultural shift. Additionally, a renewed focus on fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the Obeya room is essential to sustain efficiency gains over time. This can be achieved through targeted training and engagement initiatives to encourage regular questioning and refinement of processes. Moreover, a proactive approach to involving key stakeholders in the design and planning of the Obeya process is crucial to ensure ongoing alignment with corporate strategy and sustained success.

Source: Operational Excellence for Maritime Shipping Firm in Asia-Pacific, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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