"If you measure your KPIs once a week, it means you want to take action once a week. You might as well come to work once a week."
How often should KPIs be measured? Every day, once a week once a quarter?
Let's start with what function the KPIs should perform. I once wrote down a quote that managers use KPIs like drunk streetlamps, looking for something to lean, not enlightenment. And this is a very accurate comment on how the situation looks in many organizations.
However, we should treat KPIs more as we check our vital functions or parameters of our body. And of course, we will have to deal with people who, like fire, avoid doctors and only in the case of influenza measure temperature and regularly measure their body only after connecting the apparatus in a hospital or ambulance in case of a drastic deterioration in health. Going forward, we have people who regularly performing periodic medical examinations to catch the symptoms of a possible disease that could ruin our health and life. Going even further we have people who care about their health even more and constantly monitor pressure, heart rate, sleep quality (eg, with the help of such gadgets as smart bands or oura ring) and very often examine other health indicators.
KPIs, like our health indicators, tell us if we have made the right decisions that manifest themselves in the right results. They must tell us when what and where we should correct to achieve a better result.
The question we should ask ourselves is what kind of organization do we want to be? Is one that verifies its KPIs only in cases of problems ("customers complain about deliveries... what OTD do we have?"), or one that does it regularly, but relatively rarely ("last month did not work out well for us, we need to improve in the next") or maybe one that measures the parameters of its processes every day (daily KPI) or lives (andon)?
The great advantage of measuring parameters daily is the ability to take immediate action. Both for your own health and processes in the company.
Returning to the health analogy, let us compare these two statements:
"These quarterly results came out tragically to me. I may not have been eating fast food in the last few months. That's probably why I feel so nasty."
"Yesterday I ate a whole set of fast food and immediately the results went down. Today I'll eat a salad and go jogging."
Same for processes:
"We closed the quarter tragically. If we were to keep a better eye on the quality of supply, we could avoid problems."
"Hmm... the quality of supply has decreased since yesterday. Let us better see what happens and what we can do to make tomorrow better."
Thanks to the daily check of KPIs, it is much easier and much more effective to avoid tomorrow's problems.
There are, of course, indicators that do not make sense to measure every day (whether due to their specificity or the specificity of the business itself). But just as we and a lot of other people come to work every day and do activities that are supposed to help us achieve our goals, just as good things happen every day and there are situations that do not go in the right direction. And it is the latter that we need to be able to capture as soon as possible to correct them and put our actions back on track (and we should not forget the good ones – if the results have improved what we have done to make this happen and how can we repeat it today?).
Finally, let us add an important thing – let's avoid the so-called bullshit KPI as a fire. KPIs that do not contribute anything, which does not direct us to the right actions, which even put us in the context of where the problem lies. They can be much more harmful than the lack of KPIs. Let us create KPIs wisely. Let us always consider (and not once and not twice) what the KPI is supposed to give us and what we will be able to read from it if it starts to grow and what if it starts to fall.
And let's also remember not to limit ourselves to KPIs. Visual management, checklists, and regular feedback can be much better control tools in many situations.