Keeping score of operations

June 17, 2015 -  By

iS2100385golf-scorecardSomething magical happens when you keep score. Without any other changes, performance improves. It’s truly an amazing phenomenon.

However, when we stop to think about it, the impact of keeping score on results shouldn’t be all that surprising. All of us want to know how we’re doing compared to our peers and competitors, even if we’re not highly competitive by nature. We desire feedback. We hunger for information. We love metrics that are reliable, accurate and timely. In a nutshell, we want a scorecard.

Without a scorecard, we don’t know if we’re winning or losing, improving or declining. Simply keeping score makes a real difference, especially for process-driven activities, like those that occur in the operations area of a landscape company where small increases in results may have a dramatic impact on profitability.

There are a handful of excellent operations scorecard metrics. In this article, we’ll take a quick look at three that are the most critical for landscape operations. Think of them as a three-legged stool: efficiency, productivity and quality.

Efficiency

Efficiency is a metric that’s used to indicate how fast work is being done. It’s a measure of speed. There are several ways to measure efficiency. One is to compare actual hours to budget hours. For example, if a job has a budget of 10 hours and the job actually took eight hours, the efficiency rating is 125 percent.

(10/8)*100=125

An efficiency rating over 100 percent is good. The faster work is completed, the better. Efficiency keeps score of this metric.

Productivity

Productivity is the next metric on the scorecard. It measures how much time is spent producing work versus how much time is spent doing something other than producing work. For example, let’s assume we have a person who gets paid for a 10-hour day. During this 10-hour day, six hours are spent on a job site producing billable work. The other four hours are spent in meetings, performing equipment maintenance, driving to and from the job and doing other nonbillable tasks. In this example, this person’s day is 60 percent productive because only 60 percent of his or her time was spent on a job site producing billable work.

(6/10)*100=60

It’s not to say the other tasks aren’t important. They may have been extremely important. However, the fact remains that only 60 percent of his or her time was productive from a revenue-producing point of view.

Quality

Without measuring quality, efficiency and productivity will increase at the expense of excellence or meeting expectations, which is never a good thing. There are many different ways to keep score of quality. One of these is to use a property-auditing system that scores the quality of the site in an objective and consistent manner. Scoring quality is a proactive and professional approach, valued by customers and essential to ensure customer satisfaction.

Summary

A weekly operations scorecard is a highly effective management tool to improve performance, increase transparency and create accountability. There’s an investment of time and resources to develop and maintain an operations scorecard, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

How is your operations team doing? Are they winning? If you had an operations scorecard, you would already know the answer to this question.

Visit this Web Extra to download Pro-Motion’s operations scorecard and property audit templates.

Photo: ©istock.com/davejkahn

Phil Harwood headshot

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at Phil@GrowTheBench.com. He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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