“I wish Quality was easy; unfortunately it is a hot and sweaty job!” Dr. Noriaki Kano of the Science University of Tokyo often made this statement to emphasize that performance improvement is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to excellence. Are the results of this extra effort worth it? An objective evaluation from three perspectives is useful to document the value of efforts expended versus results. Keep in mind that we are not talking about “quick fixes” but sustainable, long-term results.
The efforts are probably not worthwhile if they are not apparent to the customers. Surveys, focus groups, and face-to-face meetings can be used to measure reliability, performance, timeliness, value, defect levels, complaint resolution, etc. Additional internal data can be collected on retention of customers, gains/losses of customers, warranty costs, service costs, and number of complaints.
Trade, industry, or local data can be accessed to compare to data from your organization to measure workforce perspective. Factors to be considered are turnover, safety, absenteeism, employee satisfaction, grievances, and organizational and personal learning.
Key financial measurements such as return on investment (ROI), return on assets (ROA), revenue, profit and loss, cash flow, and growth are important and easy to measure but are not the only important measurements. Collection times, write-offs, budget tracking, societal responsibilities, meeting key objectives, and compliance with environment, legal, and government requirements are also important to measure.
Because change is gradual, benefits of performance improvement efforts are not truly appreciated unless objective evaluation measures are in place. Armed with this data, organizations can evaluate their achievements. If the return on investment in time and effort are deemed worthwhile, they can re-dedicate themselves to continue their journey to performance excellence and advance to the next level.
No task is quite so “hot and sweaty” when you can see beneficial results.