Get on the Bus - Metrics vs. KPIs, Scorecards vs. Dashboards

Scorecards are also an important part of Six Sigma initiatives as are Dashboards, which provide a summary of performance.

All these differ from each other to a certain extent, but each have their benefits and suit the needs of Six Sigma projects at various stages.

Metrics vs. KPIs

Metrics are typically numerical measures that are used to represent a piece of business data. For example in “sales or production for the week”, sales is the value in dollars, and it would be for a specific period such as a week, month etc.

There are process metrics, which are of high value to Six Sigma experts. These are related to the direct output of process like process defects, process consumption, etc. The aims of a project can be defined in financial terms. For example, the goal is to achieve certain amount of production and sales figures.

A metric in place that translates process improvement into dollar impact is the financial metric.

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that is related to a target value. They show the ratio between actual and targeted values. Each of these values represents deviation from the targets and represent where focus is required.

For example, if a production target is 10000 items in a week and if 7500 have been produced so far, then the KPI comparison will show that 75% of the target is achieved.

Scorecards vs. Dashboards

Scorecards are mostly useful to align the execution of a process with the business strategy. The business focuses on a common strategic plan focusing on execution and achieving results that map to a specific strategy.

The key measure is KPI. “Profitable sales growth “that involves customer acquisition, sales volume and gross profitability can be one such KPI which combine multiple factors into a single KPI.

Compared to scorecards, dashboards can be said to be one level below them. The utility of dashboards is more towards achieving specific operational goals. It provides detailed information to users for further action.

The information will mostly be in form of metrics and KPIs. It is more about translating strategy into action. The effectiveness of a strategy can be judged only when it is executed and followed up. The dashboard helps focus on outcomes and goals that are to be achieved. It helps those involved to keep track of where they stand as compared to targeted performance.

All these tools work together in an improvement project. Each of it has its utility in another. However, at higher levels, they may be used separately. Considering the various factors involved, KPI and scorecards are not very different. Both are a sort of metric.

Scorecards are for measurements and help connect various aspects of the organization with an aim to achieve continual improvement and growth.



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