How Many Measures?
Can you believe it? I have actually been accused of measuring too many things during the course of my career! From my perspective however, there is a method to my measurement madness. First of all, I feel it is important to trend performance in all key performance areas, such as safety, quality, people, and cost. Secondly, I have learned through experience that the best teams improve by measuring enough different things to truly understand each of their key processes.
Through my Baldrige experience, along with personal successes, I have learned that the best organizations and teams measure two to three key metrics in each of the four or five key performance areas on a monthly basis. Additional in-process throughput and waste measures are tracked and trended on a daily basis for each key process. The best companies I have worked with and visited normally review performance trends for 25-30 key measures on at least a monthly basis.
While this number of numbers may seem intimidating, it really is not IF (1) each process leader assumes the responsibility for tracking 3-5 measures and (2) spreadsheets are used to capture key information each day. This is where the key to sustained improvement lies. The key is to get EACH person in the organization, or at a minimum, each process leader, to routinely capture (EVERY DAY) their key performance drivers and measures. Without such data, they can’t know how well their key processes are performing.
Certain types of information can be captured in a sampling manner. Most measures, however, need to be caught and trended daily, if not more frequently. In doing so, each process owner gains a much better understanding of the processes they are responsible for (and paid to improve). They also acquire valuable information to help them identify, and quickly justify, future improvements.
LEARN MORE: Using Statistics in the Real World