Create Measurement Alignment Across the Operation


measure.jpgOne of the key benefits of taking measurements is using them to motivate workers to want to do their best work rather than doing just enough to get by. This results in higher performance goals and broader vision.

To be able to control their own performance, managers (or workers) need to know more than what their goals are. They must be able to measure their performance and results against those goals. To create alignment throughout the facility, we recommend supplying managers and floor employees with clear and common measurements in the key areas of the business. These measurements don’t need to be rigid or exact.

⦁    They must be clear, simple and rational.
⦁    They must be relevant, directing attention and effort to where people should pay attention.
⦁    They must be reliable, and the margin of error understood.
⦁    Finally, the measurements have to be easy to understand.

Put bluntly, the measurements you use to manage a distribution center must be simple enough that the average worker on the floor not only understands them, but can explain them. When workers on the floor understand the meaning of the measurements, you can use them as tools for motivation.

Communicating Measurement

Measurement criteria must be public. Measurement criteria and performance results can't be kept secret from the average floor employee. Post overall facility performance for all employees to see. Post past performance history so it is easily available for any employee to see and easy to understand (graphs are best). Post the most current performance in multiple locations. Make it impossible to ignore.

Beyond visual posting, the leads, supervisors and managers must consistently speak of performance to the measurements, focusing attention on the performance goals. Conversations about improvement of process and plant should focus on how the improvement will change the performance measurements of the facility.

Successful facilities use performance measurements to help the individual worker understand their contribution to the overall facility objectives. In their conversations with floor employees, supervisors and managers must clearly define how the individual's performance affects the overall performance of the distribution center. This must be a continuous theme; it cannot be handled with a "one and done" approach. To build powerful distribution center performance, the management team must create a culture of measured performance, where each performer on the team understands their role and contribution to the whole.

What Is Measurement Success?

The ultimate goal of measurements with meaning is the ability of the average floor worker to manage their own work effort through self-control. When the average warehouse floor employee practices self-control working to achieve performance goals, the operation requires fewer leads and supervisors. Building a culture of self-management to objective is a long-term journey that can result in creating a world-class powerhouse distribution operation.

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