Metrics

MetricsMetrics can be as sophisticated as the picture of an integrated dashboard to the left suggests.  On the other hand they can be just as effective if they are no more than pencil marks on a chart by a work center that the employees maintain throughout the day.  What is the bottom line?  A key performance indicators (KPI) are being monitored by people who know the process and if the data shows that the process is heading out of control know what action to take.

Unfortunately many companies do not have adequate metrics monitoring important process points in their business.  This might be orders received, shipped, line of credit, cash flow, rejections, scrap, etc.

What stands in the way to using appropriate metrics?

  • Lack of leadership discipline.
  • Concern over the metrics being punitive.
  • Requires action or the importance of collecting and reporting is lost.
  • Collecting too much data and not knowing where to start.

Metrics is an attitude.  It is not necessary to measure everything all of the time.  It doesn’t need to all come to the top guy. With knowledge of how the process operates it is easy to identify key process points that will report how the process is doing.  Enabling employees and supervisors to deal with decisions at their level when things occur allows them to make good decisions that will keep the process under control.  Management can visit the work cell and monitor what is going on, the reports provide the basis for discussion, additional training, and where necessary management intervention to address external factors that may be impacting the work cell.

Consistent with Leadership and Process, Metrics is a tool to provide feedback into the system and where necessary serve as a signal for decisions to be made.  If Process is the backbone then Metrics is the nervous system which reports the pain when it passes a threshold.

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