The Dark Side of Process Measurement

Abstract:The analysis of measurement data allows process operators to detect and control unwanted variation and enables process breakthroughs. However, without careful introduction, process measurement can cause widespread damage in an organization. Human nature generates the dark side of measurement. A warehouse example illustrates how measurement on warehouse throughput resulted in impossible work quotas that caused employees to secretly cut corners. As a result, stores were operating at higher out-of-stock levels, costing customer good will and sales. Yet no one would discuss the embarrassing truths. People want to avoid looking bad, and when they feel threatened, they become defensive and behave in counterproductive ways. There are several ways the dark side of process measurement can be avoided, but none is easy or foolproof. It is necessary to understand the dark side of process metrics in order to make the decisions essential for progress and …

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