Measuring performance for multiple sites, departments or teams

By Richard Kunst   

Industry Manufacturing KPIs Lean manufacturing performance STEP

Maintain the focus to keep your strategy alive.

Make a plan, work it and meet your numbers. PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are put in place to ensure that sites, departments or teams are meeting objectives. However, one often-missing component is the need to be local, relevant and have a team that adjusts behaviour to bring the KPIs back in line.

A key question for frontline workers is, “How do you measure a successful day?”

Here’s a formula that works: make your plan, work your plan, meet your numbers.

Typically the first report to develop is billings, bookings and backlog, or the “flash report.” It allows you to monitor the health of your value streams.


Check that billings and bookings are in balance with forecasts. Quickly divide the backlog with average day’s billings to determine what order turnaround time will be and adjust accordingly. As the backlog increases, add throughput capacity.

You can look at multiple sites quickly and make the necessary course corrections. The report showing the previous day’s activity needs to be simple, a single page and on your desk first thing in the morning.

Next is an improvement strategy. The best tool for creating eyes for waste and eyes for flow is value stream mapping. It puts your team “on” the business instead of being “in” the business for a few days. The outcome of this workshop provides the fodder for policy deployment.

Based on the prioritized list of opportunities, you manage teams or sites to ensure they’re meeting due dates and delivering desired results. As coach and mentor, provide the teams with the resources they need to ensure success.

Here’s how the tools form a hierarchy of management and communications within your organization:

STEP diagnostic. A five-year forward view of KPIs, the supporting enablers and definitions that show a common understanding exists within the organization. Once defined, it acts as a quick scorecard.

X-matrix. This one-year plan of intended accomplishments links KPIs to strategic initiatives, balancing resources and KPIs. It’s also used as a balanced scorecard.

Team reflections. Using a slight twist of the Demming PDCA cycle, teams check on performance and trends against the previous month’s forecast while planning for expectations three months forward.

Weekly debriefs. This a great tool for managing multiple remote locations. Managers reflect on the week’s activities – on what worked well, what did not work well, what to do different, and planned accomplishments. This report should be completed within five minutes. Clearly the focus is on planned accomplishments for the user and coach.

Daily reports. A three-minute stand-up meeting that typically occurs where the work is being performed to ensure teams have the resources needed to accomplish the plan and to reflect on critical KPIs. The 48-hour view is typically combined within the communication methodology that includes shift start/exchange meetings.

Leader standard work. The format is more like a TPM for leaders to ensure tasks that need to be accomplished daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly are synchronized.

Visual standard work instructions. This is how you want tasks performed for consistency of output and the ability to audit process. Typically 50% of the instruction should include pictures.

Total productive maintenance checklist. The power of an operator applying pencil to paper exponentially increases emotional attachment to process and hence the ability to detect potential problems early so they are rectified before causing a significant issue.

A3 methodology. Provide a summary document about the status of a project or resolution to a problem. Since it follows a consistent format, you can churn through a lot of data quickly and if needed, request additional information.

Don’t take anything for granted. If you can’t “taste, touch or feel” an attribute, it’s probably a story. So when you go to visit another site, you must allocate time to conduct a physical audit of various attributes and make sure your local leader does not act as the parade marshal. Get off the beaten track to see what lurks beyond the parade route.

Successful leaders know once a strategy loses focus, the initiative will likely die. And use your name stamp. It’s like leaving foot prints in the snow. People will know you were there.

Richard Kunst is president and CEO of Cambridge, Ont.-based Kunst Solutions Corp., which helps companies become more agile, develop evolutionary management and implement lean solutions. Visit E-mail

This article appeared in the October 2019 print edition of PLANT Magazine.




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