Consulting Playbook: Lean Transformation and Effective Measurement of Performance

by Hélène Laffitte | Jan 17, 2023 | Consulting Playbook, Operations

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #22

A leading organization with a dozen plants and about 20,000 workers needed help in achieving its performance targets. They had implemented improvement initiatives in all the plants. Every plant was equipped with SAP systems; however, there were discrepancies between the plants in different countries. It became necessary to promptly design a new set of KPIs with definitions, performance, scope/granularity, and frequency set. A dashboard had to be set up in every plant using each local variable—capabilities, ensuring consistency, etc.—to enable cross sites benchmark, centralize the consolidation process, and meet the management’s objectives. The head of manufacturing decided to ask for the help of an external consultant. The goal of the project was to design an effective process to cover the Lean central reporting and to measure the success of the Lean transformation. The issue that prompted this change was the new Lean Initiative rolling out in all the plants without the corresponding KPIs updated

Creating a Dashboard Reflecting the New Performance KPIs

During the first phase, the team gathered both external and internal resources to analyze what measurement system was used by the various plants. Understanding the rationale for this choice along with the differences across sites, what measures could be replicated, and what measures were unique was essential to completing phase 1. This task was completed within 2 to 3 weeks.   The second phase kicked off with a workshop where the outcomes of phase 1 were presented. Teams could understand the extent of the work that had been done and learn from the other sites’ experiences, but they also realized that definitions used from one site to another were not allowing any internal benchmark. During the following 3 months, Lean KPIs were developed, value stream mappings were performed to understand the sources of waste, and Inventory management was reviewed and optimized enabling the optimization of logistic costs. Among the KPIs developed we could find:

  • Process efficiency KPIs: OEE, Yield, Downtime, Takt Time
  • Supply Chain Efficiency KPIs: On Time Delivery, Inventory Turnover, Capacity Utilization, Unit Cost
  • Quality KPIs: Right First Time, Reject Ratio

The newly defined KPIs were then introduced to all the plants. The First Monthly Performance Dashboard was consolidated, creating the baseline to measure future progress and a great support to the visual management. The implementation of those indicators was automated to focus on higher-value activities

A Path Moving Forward Created

The dashboard was created, and the reporting process was set accordingly. A handbook was developed to ensure a proper alignment of practices and definitions, as well as smooth on-boarding of newcomers. But, more importantly, this was the first collective step in the Lean transformation journey. Thanks to the contribution of all the teams in the creation of this joint referential, the mindset change had been initiated. And, thanks to the visual management implemented, this change was made visible to all parties. The Global Lean initiative ultimately exceeded expectations, leading to reduced manufacturing costs and working capital requirements by more than 7% in two years.

Additional Information

Major KPIs for Managers Beyond Manufacturing  

As a manager of any size team, you are likely aware how important KPIs are. In their essence KPIs are indicators measuring your team’s performance. They can also help you understand where your team excels and delivers as expected and where it falls short of expectations or standard. We have created a brief list of essential KPIs to look at when evaluating performance.

  1. Financial Metrics

– Profit – it’s important to evaluate both gross and net profit to get a clear idea of how successful your team is. – Cost – it’s the best indicator of effectiveness and the incentive to make reducing and managing your costs a top priority. – Sales by region – this metric will show which regions are meeting their sales objectives and which are not; a sufficient analysis can allow you to improve these numbers. – LOB Revenue vs Target – it’s necessary to compare your actual revenue vs the projected revenue. – LOB Expenses vs Budget – this is the comparison between your actual overhead and your forecasted budget. If there are any discrepancies, you can revise the plan, improve the team’s performance, and develop a better plan for the department’s budget.

  1. Customer Metrics

– CLV – Customer Lifetime Value – this is not just about minimizing costs and trying to optimize customer acquisition. It’s about a clear understanding of the value your organization gets from each customer long-term. – CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost is another very important metric, which is determined by dividing the total acquisition costs by the number of new customers for a given period. – Customers Satisfaction and Retention – this is a bit broader indicator as you can measure various metrics to evaluate how happy your customers are. There might be underlying and deeper issues that are not entirely under your control, but the goal is clear – have more repeat customers, offer more incentives and long-term customer loyalty programs, and develop customized products, special offers, and services to make sure your customers’ needs are fully met.

  1. People Metrics

– ETR – Employee Turnover Rate – if you like to get a clear idea of how well you are doing in this area, divide the number of employees who have left by the average number of employees, and see if this number seems appropriate. A higher number should prompt you to evaluate working culture, employment remuneration packages, work environment, employee satisfaction, and the like. – Rate of Response to Open Positions – a high percentage of qualified applicants shows that you are getting the best exposure to the job-seeking market. This will give you the best chance of hiring the right candidates and of optimizing your team’s success. – Employees’ Satisfaction – a major and broad indicator, which requires periodic surveys and interviews to determine how you can improve your employees’ well-being, and thus expect their best performance in return.  

For further reading


About The Consulting Playbook

The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

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Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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