Skip to main content

Process KPIs

Many businesses use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help them judge and monitor the performance of the business. They often use what I would call ‘output metrics’. These metrics tell the story of what happened, which is useful to know. They need to be included in a suite of measures, to give you the proper context, but don’t allow you to change the outcome.

Process KPIs are therefore metrics that tell you how key elements of your business processes are working. By understanding the performance in these areas you can adjust what you are doing today, with the idea of impacting tomorrow’s outcome. Managing the process helps you to define what the output metrics will be.

If you review your process map, and the questions you have designed for your sunrise meeting, you will probably start to see the type of process KPIs you have. Whilst many KPIs are numerical in nature, usually expressed as a percentage, they can be used digitally. The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions of the sunrise meeting are a good point. Each and every day that you hold this meeting you are asking for information. Effectively a ‘yes’ is a 100% result and a no is a ‘0%’ result. A ‘no’ should lead to immediate corrective action.

Being able to change how a process is being managed day to day allows you to effect the end results. Trying to get your production orders out of the door on time when you have bought your materials late, overloaded your workcentres and then started late is a tough call. Managing your purchasing activities so that you always mop up your purchasing actions is better. Ensuring queues are actively managed so that works orders start on time is better. A proper contract review process that appropriately loads your manufacturing capacity is better. Together the process is much, much better.

Recommended Actions


  • Review your process map / sunrise agenda for the key processes.
  • Decide how you want to measure each key step in the process. What would give you a meaningful answer?
  • Find out what other supporting information you would need in order to have the ‘full picture’ before you make a decision. For example, on time delivery is easy when you have no orders!
  • Build the KPIs into your other routines and processes.



Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.

Popular posts from this blog

Stimulating Kaizen opportunities - the 'mechanical' way!

I often end up in conversations about how to stimulate Kaizen ideas and opportunities. If you have read my other posts, you will know that I split the improvement journey into two halves. For many people, the initial Kaizen focus is all around fixing things that are wrong / not working properly. Once you get past this point you need something else to focus and motivate you to generate improvement opportunities. The two halves of the Kaizen journey The discussion that I often end up in, is the one around the imagination quandary. People talk to me about not being creative, or not being inspired to come up with improvement ideas. Do you ever feel this way? It seems that there is a popular view that some people are creative and some aren't. Great Kaizen ideas are not just the product of 'creative' people. There are lots of ways that you can generate improvement ideas without having to sit on a mountain top cross legged waiting for inspiration. Finding a 'mechanical' w

Kaizen projects: being honest about being off track

Projects, especially improvement projects, have a tendency to get off track. There is often a clear distinction between projects for customers and projects for ourselves. If our improvement projects fall behind then our customers won't be barking at us; it is no wonder that if something is going to slip it is our Kaizen endeavours. For some people this can be a tough conversation to have. No one wants to be a 'failure' and pride often gets in the way. In my experience it seems that it is believed to be far more credible to ignore the requirement to improve than to admit that we aren't making progress. So, if you find yourself (and your business) in this situation, what can you do about it? Let me share with you two options to increase the visibility in your business around progress with projects and four options to help get your projects back on track. Increasing visibility Ok, no more hiding the status of Kaizen activities . This also means no more being precious about

Embrace your improvement objectives, and your results!

It is funny how conversations with senior teams can turn frosty... when you get around to the topic of results. This is also the case when reviewing improvement objectives, when a similar result hasn't been produced before. Mostly the plans are great. They take time to produce and many people enjoy the planning process. When rubber hits the road, however, many teams seem to want to shy away. Does this happen with your team? A challenge for any leader in this situation is to make getting back on track with your improvement objectives a normal process. Not to hide the real position away, but to be honest about where you are and then do something about it. The RAG approach (Red, Amber, Green) in visual management is a good tool to use here. It can make the process of being honest an easier one. Whilst you need to come up with your own definitions of red, amber and green, a good starting point is: Red - completely off track and needs major support. Amber - slipping off track, but shoul