We’ve talked quite a few times about measuring productivity – to highlight (relative) inefficiencies, to set benchmarks and targets for improvement – but mainly to understand just what is happening in a process.  We measure throughput, quality levels, error levels, downtime, waiting time – anything that affects overall productivity. 

Where possible, we try to use measures that already exist for some other purposes – to avoid the extra cost of a monitoring/measuring regime.

Now, life is starting to get a little easier. Many modern processes have some form of analytics built in –  but it is surprising  how many firms do not take advantage, usually because they do not have an overall measurement plan into which the analytics can be incorporated.

So next time you invest in new plant or equipment, makes sure you know what analytics it can provide – and make sure key employees are trained in how to use – and interpret – these figures. 

If you make the data part of a wider plan to measure and monitor performance and productivity, so much the better.  Your data analysts just might become as important as your process engineers.