Productivity Best Practice 4: Keep on Measuring
Previously, we talked about how managing your organization to change is a great way of ensuring improved productivity for your business.
Now that you’ve used your data to identify areas for improvement, developed an action plan for improving productivity in those areas, and begun managing your organization toward change, you’re ready to focus on the next step in the optimization cycle: doing something meaningful with all the new data your changes are generating.
Here is where we leave behind the strategic and conceptual and get down to plain and simple fact. Using the baseline information you first gathered, which pointed out your organization’s problems in the first place, you’ll now want to compare it to the data that’s been gathered under your “new regime” and see what, if anything, has changed.
Stack up your new facts and figures against your initial assessment data to see if you’re moving in the right direction, are close to your goal or have successfully completed your mission.
Returning to the example from productivity best practice No. 2, let’s say that you’ve chosen the strategy of keeping an overstock of ABC components in your service vehicles so your techs will always have that part the first time they visit a customer on a related service call. Let’s also say you’ve waited a month and are now going to revisit the number of service calls for the ABC component that are completely resolved during the first visit.
There are only a few directions this number could go: up, down or nowhere.
Say your data shows that the number increased. Congratulations! Your approach to achieving greater productivity is working, and you have the numbers to prove it. You also probably have the savings to show for it, which is terrific too. You’re ready to move on to addressing another area your organization can improve upon.
But say your data instead showed that the number just kind of hovered around the same area as it was before — in the original example, a 50 percent first-call resolution rate. Or let’s say — even worse — that number decreased.
You’re doing something different now, so perhaps all you need is a bit more time to work some of the new system’s kinks out to see good results. Or perhaps there’s another factor coming into play with this new strategy that wasn’t or couldn’t have been foreseen until the plan was enacted; your data should be able to give you some insight into this if that’s the case. Or perhaps your data is simply trying to illustrate that your current approach just isn’t a viable solution for your organization and it’s time to try something else.
Either way, your data has revealed something valuable, which is why it’s so critical to keep on measuring the tangible results of your efforts, and often. Even though the former news is much better to hear than the latter, both types do, with effort, eventually lead to the same end result: increased productivity and profits. One just happened to be a more direct path, but your data will ultimately get you to your goal — if you’re measuring it, heeding its warnings and applause, and adjusting accordingly.
In the last chapter, let’s talk about how rinsing and repeating works even for businesses in terms of productivity.