With today’s reporting tools, and with so much data being generated, many organizations struggle to focus on the most important metrics for their organization. When everything appears relevant, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or bogged down by metrics that are neither beneficial nor noteworthy. Yet focusing on the right metrics is critical to any organization’s success, so it’s worth taking a closer look.
I want to take a moment to reflect on an exercise from one of my continuing education courses. Per the exercise, the class was divided into pairs, and then each pair was handed an envelope with four puzzle pieces of varying shapes and colors as well as an image of what the puzzle should look like once completed. One person was to look at the image of the completed puzzle while explaining to the other person how to put the pieces together. My partner and I dived right in.
With our backs turned away from each other, frustration ensued. We soon realized that the colors of the puzzle pieces didn’t match up to the colors on the completed image. As a result, my partner needed to use more defined, specific language instead of referencing colors. Together, we had to create our own understanding of the language we were using in order to reach our goal of completing the puzzle. Similarly, all the other pairs around the room were constructing language that worked for their partnership as well.
We learned that even though language has varying meanings and uses, it isn’t “one size fits all.” As a writer, it is my responsibility to master language precision and focus on what matters and makes sense to my unique audiences.
Likewise, I am sure this will not surprise you, but your organization and your operations are unique as well. No other organization does exactly what you do. No other organization has the same business goals and objectives as you. So, why not take the time to develop your own “language” to help you meet your business goals? And by language, I mean, metrics. Like language precision, the right metrics will help drive changes to better meet your organization’s business goals.
Based on your supply chain organization’s priorities, you can focus on metrics that are most vital to your business success. For example, a supply chain organization focused on increasing revenue and improving customer satisfaction would need to determine what aspects of their supply chain operations are critical to maintaining this objective. In this case, the organization may decide that performance measures, such as arrival time and product quality, are important to increasing revenue and exceeding customer expectations. As a result, the organization may decide to create a metrics plan that details how their end-to-end supply chain operations are performing, such as:
- Shipments delivered on time and in full,
- Goods damaged, lost, or stolen,
- Reliable estimated time of arrivals,
- Carrier performance based on deliveries, damages, costs, and
- Number of shipments per carrier.
With these metrics, the entire organization will be able to narrow their focus on what’s really important instead of focusing on metrics that don’t contribute to their overall business goals. It’s just like my puzzle: goals are met, and possibly exceeded, once everyone is speaking and understanding the same language.