As metrics drive desired behavior and, in turn, desired results, we had yet another
panel discussion on performance metrics at the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Annual Conference in Montreal, Canada.
The panel discussion was well attended with panelists and audience from several organizations like John Deere, Boeing, Hershey,
MD Anderson, Agco, Saudi Aramco and Convergent Results. While most of the discussions we have had on performance metrics have
stressed the key performance indices, balancing and the vital few, this session was unique in that the discussion mainly emphasized
leading metrics. Not just the leading one step prior to the point of identifying the cause for failure
or success, but also to the point of preventing the cause for failure.
example discussed was that near safety misses are often measured as leading indicators for controlling the lost time incident
rate (LTIR). However, the discussion was that near misses is not good enough as a metric and that we need metrics that
are more proactive — not just measuring the failure rate or the cause for the failure, but to prevent the cause itself.
So, for this example, the more proactive metric would measure the behavior, or causes, for the near misses.
The discussion continued on how, then, can the more proactive factors be determined.
These factors help measure the failure or success rate, causes for failure and prevention of the causes of failure. The representative
from MD Anderson indicated that they use the FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) to identify the factors, and to determine
the desired controls to measure. FMEAs and process control Plans (PCP) are widely used in the defense and auto industries
to identify key factors and to control the factors. It was nice to see that the medical industry is also starting to use this