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The goal of performance management is to drive desired behaviors not across-the-board excellence. This may sound obvious, but many companies have a hard time agreeing on where performance excellence is critical and where it s merely nice to have. Consider the classic triangular balance of customer service, cost, and quality. Which is most important Least important The natural tendency is to say that all are equally important and that inferior performance in any of the three If you want to pursue areas is not an option. Excellent customer service costs money. So does superior qual- balanced objectives, ity. And cost cutting usually means shaving dollars allocated to improving product qual- you need to cover ity or service excellence. This is the classic multiple performance dilemma of managing supply chain performance. If you want to pursue balanced perspectives and objectives, you need to cover multiple per- then select your formance perspectives and then select your metrics accordingly. An effective metrics metrics accordingly. program must include a balance of
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Internally focused and customer-facing metrics Financial and nonfinancial metrics Functional and cross-functional metrics Metrics designed to measure innovation and continuous improvement
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In the chapter on strategy (Discipline 1) we talked about the need to constantly look for ways to improve and differentiate your supply chain performance. Once you have decided on the appropriate path forward, the
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Strategic Supply Chain Management
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next step is to decide how you ll know if you re meeting your objectives. This assessment forms the basis of your performance-management approach. A necessary step in this process is determining where average performance is acceptable and where superior performance is a must. For the computer peripherals company discussed earlier, the objective of reducing total supply chain management cost may result in a supply chain configuration that forces a trade-off between low product costs and high fill rates. Achieving best-in-class performance for both is unlikely because each requires a different focus and configuration. The company must choose among higher transportation costs for specific products, higher finished goods inventory levels, or slower order fulfillment. We worked with a large telecommunications company whose first attempt to develop a comprehensive set of metrics resulted in the selection of 21 key performance indicators. The management team had spent a lot of time winning commitment to the program, making the metrics highly visible, and even modifying individual performance objectives to support the chosen targets. Then the team realized that not one metric focused on the customer. Instead, the program focused on such metrics as market penetration, inventory levels, and cost data. In the end, the team kept the 21 performance indicators they d worked so hard to develop but added a set of metrics focused on customer satisfaction, with an emphasis on delivery performance. As you begin to structure your performance-management program, consider including metrics that align with the four dimensions of the wellknown balanced scorecard approach:2
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The financial dimension includes metrics such as cost of goods sold, labor rates, transportation cost per mile, value-added productivity, and asset turns. As we noted earlier, financial metrics are relatively easy to measure but don t provide a complete picture of how well your supply chain is performing. The internal dimension includes metrics such as forecast accuracy, production quality, production flexibility, and internal cycle times. These metrics assess operational performance but are not tied to specific financial results. The customer dimension includes metrics such as on-time delivery to commitment, order-fulfillment cycle time, fill rates, and perfect order fulfillment. Customer-oriented metrics are designed to show how your company performs from the customer s perspective.
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CHAPTER 5 Core Discipline 5: Use Metrics to Drive Business Success
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The innovation and learning dimension is the most difficult to define because metrics in this area quantify your company s effectiveness at learning new skills. Setting goals for employees who are APICS-certified or have completed Six Sigma training is an excellent way to establish meaningful metrics for this dimension.
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How often should metrics be monitored This depends on the life cycle or clock speed of your business, but monthly reporting is fine for most top-level metrics. This usually allows you to spot trends before they become problems and avoids overreporting with little value. Detailed operational metrics should be monitored and reported at least weekly, if not daily. Often these are key customer-facing metrics such as fill rate or delivery-to-commit performance. While invoiced costs, such as warehousing and transportation, should be tracked on a monthly basis, costs related to internal headcount should be reexamined during the budgeting cycle, the frequency of which may vary from one company to another but typically is on an annual cycle. Despite making large investments in supply chain planning tools, most companies track inventory and delivery performance only on a monthly basis. These metrics should be tracked at least weekly if not daily to ensure excellent customer service. Creating the capability to use existing metrics more effectively also can be an important lever in gaining organizational support. Increasing the frequency with which you monitor an existing metric is an excellent way to leverage already available infrastructure while improving its effectiveness.
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