Early in Ollie Wight's career, he recognized what separated well-managed organizations from those out of control. Leading-edge organizations (of which there were few) had planning capabilities that continuously reflected both what they needed to do and were able to do. Working as a team, everyone contributed to the plan and its execution. In organizations that were out of control, fire-fighting dominated; they were constantly reacting to the latest crisis. Poor customer service and productivity was the price they paid. Without performance measurements, nobody was held accountable and finger-pointing filled the void with its divisive impact on teamwork.
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“For a boss, you’ll do what you have to do. For a leader, you’ll do what you can do.”
Closing the gap between underperforming and outstanding companies
Closing this gap between outstanding versus underperforming organizations became Ollie's crusade. He formed the Oliver Wight company in 1969. The company's single-minded mission was "To help executives manage their business more professionally." Courses were to describe only proven, practical approaches - solutions that generated significant results. The most important measurement of his company’s success was having clients achieve Class A results.
Evolution and innovation
Over the years, he led the evolution of MRP into MRP II and evolved Production Planning into Sales & Operations Planning, the forebear of Integrated Business Planning. Yet, many organizations failed to install these processes and tools properly, so to avoid the pitfalls, Ollie developed the ‘Proven Path’, a step-by-step roadmap to successful implementation. And to evaluate progress, the original Oliver Wight Checklist was created in 1977; now known as the Class A Standard, it is in its seventh edition. By objectively answering the detailed questions in the Checklist, the level of proficiency of the organization could be determined and was categorized as A, B, C, or D. He established that the right set of tools and processes in the hands of educated users produces substantial improvements. As the word spread, Oliver Wight courses filled quickly. To meet the growing needs, a new entity was created in 1979: Oliver Wight Education Associates. Eight business executives, each with a Class A track record, were asked to join.
A legacy to global business
Ollie died in 1983 at the age of just 53. He lived his dream passionately. Through his courses, presentations, articles, books, and video courses, Ollie educated and inspired thousands of executives. Hundreds of companies benefitted from his enduring insights. He witnessed those changes. To keep the crusade alive was Ollie’s greatest wish. In subsequent years, Oliver Wight Education Associates has grown into a global business and remains committed to helping organizations align and integrate their business processes to achieve greater customer satisfaction and financial performance.