Supply Chain Wednesday: Harmonized Key Performance Indicators



(1) Indicator: Something that gives you information on something else

The unemployment rate is a good indicator of demand for new cars

(2) Volume: Amount, level

As volume increases, we can take advantage of economies of scale

(3) To be in conflict with: When two things cause problems by existing together

The supplier’s order specifications are in conflict with our best practices. We need to adjust one or the other.



1. Which is least likely to be a KPI?

a. Sales Volume

b. Sales Leads

c. Sales Hires

2. What is a harmonized key performance indicator?

a. An indicator that works for all (or most) areas of a company

b. An indicator that increases profits

c. An indicator that is the same for the customer and for the company

3. How might a boss request more information?

a. I want everyone to mix up…

b. I want everyone to draw up…

c. I want everyone to move up…

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Today on the blog you’ll learn about Harmonized Key Performance Indicators (KPI). You’ll learn about an example of how a company can create good indicators. Finally, you’ll learn some real life expressions that you can use on the job.


Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are metrics a company uses to check how well they are performing. Examples of metrics include volume and how well you stay on schedule. Many different metrics can help track and motivate a department. For example, if the metric is volume, the production team will certainly do their best to produce the correct volume. If the metric is defects, then teams will try to reduce the number of defects.

The difficult situation is when metrics are in conflict. Manufacturing might need to choose between volume and defects. That’s hard, but management can direct manufacturing to focus on one thing. The bigger problem is when the metric for one department is in conflict with the metric for another department. For example, sales might be trying to increase orders. At the same time, manufacturing might be trying to decrease defects. A company with this situation could easily have too many orders


Here’s a great link to a paper by Booz and Company. Scroll down to page seven and you’ll see a great example of a harmonized key performance indicator. Harmonized key performance indicators work well for all (or most) areas of a company. In the paper, they write about the cash conversion cycle. They write that this is “a single metric to focus everyone on the speed of moving things along the supply chain—a common theme that would impact the functional metrics of inventory, service levels, lead times, and quality.”

This should be the goal of key performance indicators. They should be metrics that work across departments. Ideally, they’ll be of use for your partners and clients as well.

On The Job

“ I want everyone to draw up a list of performance indicators that other departments could use.”

This sentence is a way to request people to think about harmonized key performance indicators. It’s something a boss would say to get more information.

“The problem is that our suppliers, our customers, and we all define the metrics differently. There’s no harmony among us.

The problem is that” is an easy way to start a sentence about a complaint. It clearly announces it. In this case the problem is about the harmony of metrics.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, B


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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