If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that using KPIs to drive real improvements in business outcomes is a passion of mine. Metrics have always been important to me.
However, in the last few years in particular, I’ve been investigating how various organisations use KPIs (and when they don’t). I’ve also studied the behaviours and cultures around KPI usage, and strategies for their implementation. And I’ve seen some ineffective strategies around.
Looking at the entire sales chain
Quite often, I’ve seen businesses use metrics to measure targets, such as profitability, stock return rates and staff retention, without considering the metrics that might drive those outcomes.
To me, this shows a lack of understanding about how to develop effective business strategies—strategies that have structure and forethought likely to produce the intended income as opposed to just a measure of the result.
For example, the process of measuring sales outcomes is quite well defined. Yes, everybody looks at sales revenue and net profit. However, we analyse the entire sales chain.
Savvy managers also look at metrics such as the number of leads generated, conversion rates, time to close etc. By using this well-defined business process, professionals have learned to measure the metrics that drive the outcome, not just the outcome itself.
Unfortunately, I don’t always see this type of methodology used elsewhere.
How metrics drive your stock returns
Let’s look at another example—stock returns. Anyone who sells merchandise knows there’s a high cost associated with returned stock. In some industries, a single returned item might cost the organisation the equivalent margin of 10 or more sales!
So let’s think about the types of metrics that might drive a particular stock return level.
- the wrong products are being shipped
- the addresses are incorrect
- the products have a higher-than-expected failure rate
- the products aren’t meeting the customer’s expectations.
Depending on the product, dozens of factors could be driving a high or low return rate. Yet many organisations don’t monitor these metrics effectively enough to determine the core causes or, just as importantly, help them drive change.
Another example is staff retention rates. However, I’ve saved this one for next week’s article, so keep an eye out for it.
What’s your strategy?
If you want to improve your organisation’s performance, you need to start developing a strategy to improve it and, of course, measure it. Because any strategy without metrics is usually ineffective.
Just a few things for you to think about…
In my last blog post, I discussed how vital it is that businesspeople monitor their stress levels and I explained how I track such a qualitative indicator using a manual KPI.
As the concept of the ‘manual KPI’ is so important in Bizeo and is the key to monitoring what’s really going on in your business, I thought I’d spend more time on the concept.
What is a manual KPI?
Some KPIs can’t just be generated automatically from a database or other system. They need to be calculated or determined by a human. We refer to these as manual KPIs.
Different types of manual KPIs can include:
- a point-of-sale environment, where you want to track the length of queues at the checkout
- qualitative items, such as satisfaction or stress levels
- any KPI that requires human calculation or where the source data hasn’t been stored electronically (e.g. you can only know how much of your week you spent on a specific project if you kept detailed timesheets)
- figures derived from a computer system that can’t be, or hasn’t yet been, interfaced with Bizeo.
How to set up a manual KPI
When you set up a manual KPI in Bizeo, it will send a regular automated email to the person who will produce that KPI (which doesn’t have to be you). They click on the link in that email and a sheet opens up into which they enter the details. It’s that simple.
To set up a manual KPI in Bizeo:
1. Go to Edit Mode
2. Add a new task.
3. For Drone, select ‘Bizeo Cloud Drone’.
4. For Data Source, select ‘Manual KPI’.
5. For KPI, select ‘Manual KPI’.
6. Enter the email address of the person who’ll be entering the KPI.
7. Type the header and body of the email that they’ll receive.
8. Specify other parameters, including the checking period (i.e. how often you want to receive the email).
One final hint
Manual KPIs are great for personal KPIs as well. You can monitor things like your weight, times for your fitness objectives, the number of hours you spend at work each day, and even how satisfied you are with your own or your team’s performance.
The options are endless once you start thinking about it.
If you don’t have Bizeo yet, you can now get a get a free Bizeo subscription for an unlimited time and monitor up to 20 KPIs. I challenge you to come up with all 20! Let me know how you go.