Impact of KPIs on Measuring Productivity

  January 27, 2015

Through the use of a computerized maintenance management system, managers can implement their chosen set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the efficiency of a department and identify areas to improve. It can be a tricky process because managers run the risk of gathering irrelevant data and wasting time.

"You need to have set KPIs so that your dashboard is set to give you the type of reports you want, to be able to drive business forward by understanding what’s happening within your operation," says Teena Shouse, vice president of Facility Engineering Associates, an engineering and facility management consulting firm. "Keep it simple. I can give you a list of 157 KPIs, (but) quite honestly, the normal operation needs 10 to 15 to be able to understand what’s happening."

When creating KPIs, managers must think in terms of those that will help them achieve what they want to accomplish, Shouse says. "Decision-based data is the key," she says. "I see people with dashboards, and it's crazy. Why do I care how many times the phone rings? I do care about how long a customer was on hold. I do care if the problem was resolved the first time. If I'm measuring rework, that's important."

Managers must carefully consider the KPIs to use. The duties in maintenance and engineering departments often vary because of an emergency or a system breakdown, making the process of creating effective KPIs a challenge.

"The accepted concept of KPIs is an awkward fit for facilities," says Martin McElroy of The Martin Co., a management consulting firm. "In most locations and most contexts, facilities just don't work that way. The whole quality industry, and the metrics for performance, don't adequately reckon with the volatility, variability, velocity, and the venue of stuff that comes flowing toward facilities. In the real world in facilities, you are not measuring one task being performed a million times. You are measuring a million tasks being performed once."

Shouse suggests managers take their time when developing KPIs.

"Don’t try to do everything at once," she says. "Figure out what's really going to drive your business, what's going to move your needle, and start with five (KPIs). Do it very raw, capture it appropriately, then add on another five."

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