October 12, 2011

Measures and metrics: remember the basics

Speakers at the "Measures and Metrics" track sessions reinforced some fundamental principles, with a bit of humor on the side.

By Steve Geary

Supply chain metrics is an area that all too often is overlooked or forgotten. At CSCMP's Annual Global Conference in Philadelphia, the "Measures and Metrics" track sparked healthy discussions about metrics-related principles that are well known to many of us but merit reinforcement.

Among the tried-and-true recommendations: Recognize that no one set of metrics will help you become perfect, and that metrics are fluid. Scorecard the things that you need to watch, and when you have to shift your business focus and drive improvement elsewhere, change the scorecard. The right metrics create alignment through incentives and by creating cultural norms.

Metrics is a serious subject, but even the most numerically minded enjoyed the occasional bit of levity, such as when Robert Lim, Vice President PPIC, Del Monte offered a very creative description of the predictive power of a well-crafted metrics program. "If Wile E. Coyote had a metrics program monitoring his efforts to catch the Road Runner," he said, "he would have known that after about two minutes and thirty seconds there was a 90-percent probability of an anvil dropping on his head."