People Process Measurement with External Data

People Process Measurement with External Data

By Gary Angel


September 11, 2020

People Process Measurement

With all the incredible automation in complex supply chains delivered by brand titans, it’s easy to forget that when it comes to retail, the store-side is all about people. And until very recently, what people did and how they executed tasks was essentially unmeasurable.


That’s a huge miss. And it’s why any retailer who can significantly improve their people-based processes will gain a real competitive advantage. But measuring people-based processes has been nearly impossible. In the past, the most common way to measure people process is by external measurements.


Quantitative measures of productivity are obviously valuable. If you know how many units you shipped from your store or how many curbside pickups you had, you can figure out gross productivity numbers for the Associates involved. At the same time, life in the store often makes this problematic.


Employees aren’t always dedicated to a task and high-level metrics that cover volume and time don’t necessarily reflect any process realities on the ground. Did a task really take 30 minutes or was it interrupted 4 times? Did an employee spend 100% of their shift doing SFS tasks or 10%. To understand task execution and/or productivity, you need to be able to answer those questions.


Sometimes, quantitative data can do that. If employees are using tablets or similar devices as part of their task, their may be a digital trail of how long each task took. That’s pretty invaluable and it will answer a bunch of questions about productivity and task execution. What won’t it do?


Typically, it won’t tell you why a task went awry.


Qualitative data is another common way to track task performance – in this case from the customer perspective. If you have curbside pickup, you’d be delinquent if you weren’t following up every pickup with an opportunity for customer feedback. This kind of VoC won’t give you any insight into how the process is actually executed, but it will give you a TON of insight into whether the process is broken at the customer level.


There’s nothing wrong with fixing processes that aren’t broken at the customer level. If a process takes too long and chews up too much employee time, that’s a problem even if the customer doesn’t see it. But bad customer experience is MUCH worse.


What’s more, a process can look great using many internal quantitative metrics but still be utterly broken from the customer perspective.


In general, good VoC is always useful and a profound check on your measurement and systems.


In other words, implementing detailed people-process measurement that goes beyond external metrics doesn’t invalidate or obsolete either quantitative or qualitative metrics. You’ll still probably want both.


Integrating quantitative metrics into deep behavioral tracking lets you identify when particular process types are driving execution issues. And by using VoC, you have a view into the customer’s perspective on whether and to what extent your process changes and improvements are making a difference to the actual experience.


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