Measurement is all around us. Everywhere we turn, we see clocks, thermometers, gauges, charts and other ways to take and communicate measurement. Why? Imagine what it would be like without measurement. We would have to guess about when to leave for work, when to turn off an oven, or when to fill our cars with gas. Measuring allows us to find out what is happening and communicate what we find to others.

In our work we can use measurement to find out what our processes are doing and communicate this information to those who can help us operate and improve them. But first, we must carefully decide what is to be measured. We want to select measurements that will clearly show us what the process is doing.

What to measure?
You should analyze your work processes to understand how they operate.  If you are looking to improve your customer service, you will want to measure a process you know or suspect causes customer dissatisfaction. This could be a process that affects an internal customer or an external customer.

How to measure?
Plot the data on a chart that can be displayed in an area visible to the employees who are doing the work and impacting the numbers. These visual charts will keep the service process on the forefront of everyone’s mind.

There is nothing worse than no chart than an out-of-date or not kept up measurement chart.  A Measurement Chart form can help to assign responsibility to keep the chart current.  It asks the questions: What process will be measured? Which part of the process? Why was this part chosen? How will the data be collected? Who will be responsible for data collection? What kind of chart will be used and how will the process be labeled? Who will be responsible for recording the information?

Follow-up and review of the data on an on-going basis is important for the chart to have value.  Dr. Demming, the guru of quality management, once said “those who measure, tend to analyze, those who analyze, tend to improve.”  Management and employees keeping the charts should review the chart regularly and take action as deemed appropriate by the data collected.

Remember the purpose of measurement is not to blame, but to understand and assist you in improving the process. It is important to measure to identify how you can improve this process to better serve your customers.

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