7 Continuous Improvement Metrics To Track Your Progress

Updated June 24, 2022

It can be beneficial for a company to track its improvement so it can understand how to continue enhancing its operations. There are many ways to keep track of the progress that a business makes, such as continuous improvement metrics. Knowing about the different types of metrics used for measuring progress can help you ensure that a company is continuing to improve over time, which can be especially valuable if it sets clear business goals. In this article, we explore seven types of continuous improvement metrics that companies can use to track their progress.

Related: 5 Types of Operations Metrics for Improving Your Business

What are continuous improvement metrics?

Continuous improvement metrics are methods for assessing the progress that a business makes in enhancing its operations. Companies can also use them to verify that they're consistently improving as time progresses. While there are many ways to measure improvement, continuous improvement metrics collect and consider data over long periods of time. This can help to understand how effectively a business is improving by observing how permanent the changes it makes might be.

For example, a company can use a metric like customer satisfaction to track how many of their customers report being pleased with their experiences over a certain period of time. If the data shows customers seem satisfied up to a certain point, they can conduct further research into what they can do to improve customer satisfaction more permanently.

Related: Helpful Metrics to Measure Success

Why are continuous improvement metrics important?

Continuous improvement metrics can be important for many reasons, such as providing companies with guidelines for planning the changes they might make to policies or operations. For example, a business that uses continuous improvement metrics can typically quickly identify areas of its operations that don't seem to be improving as consistently as others. They can then use this information to adjust their operations to reach a higher level of improvement across all departments. Continuous improvement metrics can also be important because they can save a company's resources by conserving time and money.

Related: Why You Should Invest in Continuous Career Improvement

7 continuous improvement metrics

Here are seven continuous improvement metrics that can help you track your progress:

1. Safety

As a continuous improvement metric, safety refers to the consistent well-being of employees in a workplace. Tracking safety can be a valuable method to use because when a business prioritizes safety, employees might be more likely to trust their employers and be able to focus on doing good work rather than keeping themselves safe.

There can be many ways to use safety as a continuous improvement metric, such as keeping track of the number of workplace incidents that employees report or the frequency of situations that require people to use corrective actions. Businesses can then use this information to determine what they can do to reduce these numbers and keep them low over time.

2. Cost

Cost typically describes the amount of money that a business spends on materials, inventory and labor. Keeping track of the cost that a company incurs can often be a quick indicator of its performance, as companies that experience disproportionately high costs can often experience low revenue. However, companies can also take actions to reduce the cost of their operations and then take note of whether these methods seem effective. Repeating this process over time can then result in a continuous improvement metric that allows businesses to identify successful cost-reducing efforts and implement them to maintain the level of improvement.

3. Quality

Quality can be one of the simplest metrics for measuring continuous improvement because companies can typically identify defects or inconsistencies in products quickly. When a company discovers that it might need to improve the quality of one or more of its products, it can then continue to keep track of quality after making the potential correction. Continuing this process for extended periods of time can increase the number of potentially faulty products that a business catches and fixes before releasing them to the public, which can save time and money.

4. Time

Another common way to measure improvement is to track the time it takes to complete certain tasks because finishing projects effectively in shorter amounts of time often indicates a level of success. Time can also be a successful continuous improvement metric when a company evaluates how long it takes to complete projects. For example, businesses can keep track of how long each project takes within a year and implement improvement methods that can save time at various points to identify methods that seem effective. They can then implement these permanently to make the improvement continuous.

5. Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction can be an especially important metric for businesses in retail industries, as having happy customers typically leads to more sales. While many companies advertise excellent customer service, it can be helpful to measure how satisfied customers actually are to ensure that a business offers the services that it promotes. For example, a company can collect customer surveys multiple times throughout the year to learn about how satisfied its customers are after implementing improvement tactics like seasonal deals or increased customer service desk hours.

6. Return on investment (ROI)

Return on investment (ROI) can be another very simple metric for companies to implement, as most businesses already keep track of the revenue they earn. However, evaluating this information after implementing new policies and continuing to do so throughout a business year can offer even more insight into a company's performance. This can allow it to identify effective methods for increasing the ROI it achieves and maintaining a consistent level of growing revenue.

Related: ROI: Definition and Calculation

7. Employee satisfaction

Most companies hope to maintain high levels of employee satisfaction, as this typically means that employees are happy at their jobs. Because of this, employee satisfaction can be a very common continuous improvement metric. Keeping track of how satisfied employees are can tell a business what they might need to do to keep employees happy, as this can result in higher employee retention and save the business money. A company can track employee satisfaction using surveys and anonymous forms that employees can submit multiple times throughout the year to describe their level of satisfaction.

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