Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Metrics are dangerous - Be careful what you wish for!

Is there a manger out there who would say they operate without metrics?  NOT. 
After all everyone knows that what gets measured gets done, right?  Here is the problem, most managers either use the wrong metrics or only use one dimensional metrics to drive behavior. 

Let’s take a recent example I have seen first hand.  A Materials Manager is being measured on order fulfillment rate.  They have a goal of filling orders 99% of the time; they currently are at 99.4% fulfillment. Is this a good thing?  Does this make the organization more profitable or efficient? 

How about if I told you that over 4,000 individual orders a month are processed. How about if I told you that the number of orders being processed is going up every year but the volume of supplies is relatively flat. How about if I told you that our cost of expediting shipping has risen by 30%?

Here is another prevalent example common in many Hospitals. 

The Hospital employees a physician liaison to build bridges with community MD’s and to produce more referrals. The metric for this person is the number of visits to community MD’s.  Do you think monitoring such a metric will drive the desired results?   Can you come up with some other metrics that might be useful?  Does quantity over quality ring a bell? With this one metric how long will it take you to determine the effectiveness of the program?

I think you get the picture.  Be careful what you measure because it may just get done

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