Our Mission – Bring World-Class Continuous Improvement/Lean Practices to Central Pennsylvania Manufacturers.
Wow, thanks to all August Lean Users Group attendees for your very valuable inputs. I learned a ton. I tried to capture key takeaways below, in no particular order.
But first, how about a learn and do challenge?
How about we all (each company) come up with at least one new metric that fits the criteria that evolved from the discussion?
- Directly influences continuous improvement activity
- Is simple to obtain the data
- Is meaningful to those whose work is being measured
- Is agreed upon by those whose work is being measured
- Promotes singleness of purpose (teamwork) among the group
- Aligns with broader business / financial metrics and objectives
- Can be ongoing or temporary
- Make it visual / known to key stakeholders
- Make the “misses” visual / known to stakeholders
- Small is probably better than high level (but whatever works)
I’ve never seen all those criteria for effective metrics captured in one place like that. Again, way to go group!
BE A DATA-DRIVEN COMPANY – not an instincts and emotions-driven company
Per Deming – “In God we trust. All others bring data.”
Employees like data and metrics IF we’re measuring the right things in the right way (see criteria above).
Broader business metrics are important but they don’t drive CI and behaviors. Small and targeted metrics drive CI and change.
Metrics can be temporary to help drive a particular improvement / problem that you’re working on.
It’s important that people be able to influence the metric individually or as a group. And that the metric be meaningful, as in it truly reflects a good day or bad day in the eyes of the individual or stakeholder group.
It’s critical that people understand why something is being measured – So that the process can be improved. If we fail to use the results for continuous improvement the metric will be quickly ignored and become meaningless (happens all the time).
To use metrics effectively, we as management types must:
- be sure people understand the purpose / value of the metric;
- help the group make the improvements that the metric indicates need to occur; and
- engage them in that work.
If any of those 3 pieces is missing (the purpose, the right support, the right involvement), metrics can become meaningless or negative.
Don’t be boxed in by past expectations and norms. There’s no limit to the potential creativity of metrics. Whatever gives people information that they can use to make improvements can be a metric.
Very important that the data be easily obtained. Simple is better because it’s more efficient and therefore more likely to get done and there is no “perfect metric” anyhow.
The right metrics create teamwork by providing team objectives and purpose. Several great examples were given. The wrong metrics can be divisive and cause a self-centered response.
Almost any metric can be “gamed”. Evaluate your metrics to be sure they are promoting the right behaviors.
Finding the “right” metric is hard work whether at the more detailed level or up the organization. Often it takes several tries to get it “dialed in” so that it meets the above criteria.
Often the best metrics are fluid, situational.
When to measure? No doubt that metrics are more meaningful when what you’re measuring / the process is reasonably stable. But it’s better to start measuring immediately and use that data for process improvement rather than waiting until the process is more stable to measure.
Use metrics to develop an action-oriented enterprise. Key to that is a) “listen” to the metric; b) “small bites” (don’t let perfect get in the way of better); and c) suggest a pilot or temporary trial.
A CI enterprise needs metrics at multiple “levels”.
- Broader business / financials.
- At the department or value-stream level.
- At the cell or even job / task level.
- At the project / initiative level.
Alignment of metrics is super-important. CI practitioners should be able to establish metrics that measure Lean/CI efforts AND be able to speak to how those measures align with higher level business and financial objectives.
Let’s close by re-stating… BE A DATA-DRIVEN ENTERPRISE at all levels of the organization
Please feel free to comment, ask a question, etc.
Handouts from the mtg are attached here… Metrics Handout