Improvement efforts in back office and financial services often focus on cycle times for critical process steps. In a manufacturing back office, Key Perfomance Indicators might be the cycle time for key process steps:
- Time from order entry to raw material delivery
- Time from material delivery to job start
- Time from job start to milestone
- Time from milestone to job completion
The same criteria may be found in a financial services firm tracking performance of client service representatives.
In these situations, process owner may have additional insight they can record about the problem. This insight, when grouped with other data over longer periods of time, may reveal trends and themes that can be addressed to drive performance improvement.
System design considerations
Key steps to establish a back office quality metric include:
- Begin with the end in mind by sketching the reports, dashboards, and supporting charts that you need.
- Evaluate sources of data. These may include automated time stamps in business operations systems as work progresses through the business process.
- Establish business rules for what constitutes a failure.
- Design queries to extract relevant data.
- Build appropriate data massaging processes to clean up or normalize data to make it more useful.
- Determine potential for collecting and digitizing “tribal knowledge” from process owners. These are people closest to the problems, and when they are rewarded (instead of punished) for sharing what they know, progress can often move much faster.