Are you mired in data cleanup and not focused on measures that can immediately help you? Stop searching for the “right” data lever and look for measures to track and improve processes.

If you have the systems to measure your ideal metric, go for it but don’t let it become an excuse!  Find one that will measure progress and start immediately!

For example, in one of our clients, not only were the run rates incorrect but they were wildly different for similar items which would make planning an utter nightmare!  However, there are still ways to measure progress and plan.  Find a metric that won’t change and stick to it.  In this case, we used earned standard hours, and we are able to measure improvements in the metric.  Of course, as data is cleaned up, we should put better metrics in place but it doesn’t have to hold up progress!  And we were able to plan to the expected earned standard hours as well.  All is solved to an 80/20 standpoint which is all that is needed.

This type of scenario has come up on multiple occasions – actually almost every client has some sort of situation that fits in this mold (the only question is how significant).  It could be that measuring inventory levels is challenging because the system reports aren’t set up correctly.  In this case, it could be that you count pallet rows or something else that is visible and easy.  It could be that your system doesn’t support run rates effectively (unfortunately that was true with one client).  In this case, we found a manual process to keep the load visible while storing information in the system.

What is in common in all these examples is to start immediately with what you have and find a way to make progress.  It certainly doesn’t sound like rocket science but it drives results. If it was common, so many of our clients wouldn’t make significant progress once we find the “right lever” to pull, similar to these situations.

© Lisa Anderson