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When measuring process performance, the key is to adopt a balanced approach that considers various dimensions of performance. Instead of taking the time to deliberately build a holistic view of what’s going on, organizations can fall into the trap of reporting process outcomes that are easy to measure or where pre-existing data is readily available. This can lead to lop-sided, one-dimensional metrics that don’t tell process leaders the whole story. Embracing a triad of balanced measures across the facets of quality, cost and delivery (QCD) offers a comprehensive framework that supports business decision making.
Let’s delve into why these three dimensions are instrumental in measuring and optimizing business processes.
1. Quality: elevating internal and external customer satisfaction
Quality is the heartbeat of any successful business but it’s not easy to measure. How do you measure the ‘goodness’ of each of your processes? What does ‘good’ really mean? Who determines what the yard stick for ‘good’ is? Arriving at the answers to these questions, let alone agreeing on them, can be a daunting exercise but always proves to be incredibly worthwhile and enlightening. Robust quality measures not only enhance the end user experience they also contribute to successful process handshakes internally between connected processes.
2. Cost efficiency: helping the business to prosper
Cost measures are the financial backbone of any effective business processes, but they are often measured at an elevated level and exclusively scrutinized and understood by the powers that be. Pushing cost measurement down to individual operational processes helps to get everyone in the organization focused on the bottom line and contributing to profitability. Monitoring the cost of poor quality (rework, test & inspection, complaint handling scrap, etc) can help to identify areas of excess at a local operational level which ultimately contributes to enterprise profitability and growth.
3. Timely delivery: meeting customer expectations
In the fast-paced world of business, timely delivery is a key competitive advantage. Process and task cycle and lead times at operational and tactical levels are staple measures in most organizations and usually more prevalent than quality and cost indicators which are harder to describe and measure. They are reliable go tos but provide enhanced operational performance insight when considered in conjunction with their attendant quality and cost variables. Punctual delivery to both internal and external customers not only promotes organizational harmony between process leaders and nurtures end user customer satisfaction but also strengthens and builds trust in the marketplace.
4. Continuous improvement: the engine of progress
QCD (Quality, Cost, Delivery) measures serve as valuable indicators for Continuous Improvement. Regular evaluation across these dimensions, in comparison with performance targets, allows process leaders to identify and prioritize specific areas of improvement. The synergy and interplay between the trio of measurement types means that where change initiatives are focused on a particular dimension, e.g. improving the quality performance, then the impact (negative or positive) to cost and delivery can easily and quickly be seen.
In conclusion, a triad of quality, cost and delivery measures forms a robust foundation for monitoring and optimizing processes. Striking a harmonious balance between these dimensions can foster customer satisfaction, promote cost efficiency, and positions organizations well for continuous improvement and growth.
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