Creating a center of excellence isn’t easy, but it can be worth the investment of time and energy.
A center of excellence (COE) is a collaboration; it doesn’t touch just one part of an organization. To achieve this, an entire company needs to be activated, with participants being brought together with the goal of creating innovation to address a business outcome.
While COEs can exist with specific start and end dates, most are intended to operate over a long period of time. The most critical factor determining the success of a COE is the clarity of its purpose and the importance of its mission. Given its nontraditional status in the organization, the COE does not have the luxury of a vague purpose and marginal mission. No organization should and most will not tolerate such a waste of time, resources, and money.
Unfortunately, in the homebuilding industry, examples of existing COEs are scarce. Many companies put significant efforts into process improvement, measurement, and training. However, most of these efforts fall short of a center of excellence.