Principle Five: Make Measurable Improvements in All Aspects of the Business is the principle that discusses metrics and their use. With ever increasing competition and constantly rising customer expectations, a company simply cannot grow and prosper without making improvements in their product and service offerings. Knowing where you were, where you are, and where you need to be can only be determined by adopting metrics as a core activity across the organization.
Articles in this section discuss the various aspects of metrics and how they become an integral part of the business.
The articles are:
Introduction to Principle Five
Principle Five: Make Measurable Improvements in All Aspects of the Business
This is one of the most important factors to help ensure the very survival of a business. Working hard is not enough; individuals, departments, and the entire organization must attain quantifiable results continuously. An organization simply cannot maintain its position by coasting or just doing more of the same. Positive change must be constant.
Measure Everything That Matters
Instilling the importance and establishing metrics in all elements of the company can be challenging and, in fact, met with resistance. The key to acceptance is to measure things that matter to individuals as well as the entire organization. Relating individual metrics to overall company performance allows each individual to understand how their actions impact the company. It helps instill the feeling that their part does indeed matter.
Metrics are the First Step
Establishing an overall quality plan can appear to be an overwhelming task. Books, courses, and consultants abound ready to provide guidance. Unfortunately, many new or small companies fall into the trap that they do not have time for these programs. Those that do take the time invariably find that dramatic positive results are attained. In virtually every approach the first step is to establish measurements. Once started, the other elements quickly fall in place.
Manage Like You Drive
As we drive a vehicle, we are constantly observing the conditions ahead of us and occasionally behind us. During this process we are continuously making minor course corrections and watching for telltale signs of potential trouble. We perform these tasks every time we get behind the wheel. These same principles need to be followed in our business activities as well. Continuous adaptation with minor course corrections should replace the typical end of the month or quarter knee-jerk reactions common to many businesses today.
Making Metrics Work
Requiring the generation and creation of metrics that are shared in monthly or quarterly review meetings will provide no lasting value. Instead, metrics need to be used as part of documented processes that are followed during all business activities. Through real time monitoring of metrics as part of standard processes, course corrections can be made during the period instead of using them to report results later.
Cycle Time: A Universal Metric
There are very few things like fine wine that get better with age. Minimizing the overall time that it takes to complete an activity is usually a sound business practice. With less elapsed time, there are fewer opportunities for anomalies to occur or for the results of the activity to no longer be optimum. There are exceptions to completing this quickly. Knowing when to use cycle time as a key metric and when not to is important.