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SMART Metrics for an Engaged Staff

Objectives can help motivate us: losing weight to fit into a dress or suit for a celebration, for instance. But poor objectives can have the opposite effect. A company-wide objective of “90%+ on-time delivery” sounds reasonable, but how does each employee’s work contribute, and do they know? You’ve heard of SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-connected. Would SMART metrics – actually, KPIs (Key Process Indicators) – help our results?

A SMART KPI should be motivating, and help each department/person see how they contribute. Ask your staff if their department KPIs are fair, and if not why not, then revise them so staff are being measured against something they can control (e.g OTD is a corporate objective, but not a metric for shipping). For instance, Sales may have a “24-hr quote turnaround” KPI, Engineering’s KPI might be “90% phase milestones closed on time”, Production Planning might have “95% jobs match Process time estimate”, or “Under 5% scrap”, while Shipping could use “no packaging damage or shipping errors”. When each operation has Specific, Measurable goals that are within their control, and they know their Attainment daily/weekly/monthly, they can respond to management on how Realistic the Time goals are. Each operation then owns their relationship to the overall OTD goal, and to what ISO describe as “objectives at relevant levels”.

These process-level KPIs also help management determine how effective the overall process is, identify bottlenecks or resource needs, and point to ways to ‘lean out’ the workflow. That might help achieve another goal: meeting OTD without overtime. What do you think?


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