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Successfully Implementing Key Performance Indicators: Australian Case Study

Technical Projects, Sydney Australia

Technical Projects (www.tecpro.com.au) are Australia’s leading nozzle specialists and distribute products such as general-purpose spray nozzles, air atomising nozzles, accessories, washdown guns, and tank cleaning heads.  Their target clients are manufacturing companies particularly in the food sector.

Technical Projects was formed in 1982 by Lester Maino, a design engineer, to assist clients with technical problems relating to spray nozzles and hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Lester decided to retire in 1999 and the company was taken over by Graeme Cooper who had been working with Lester for 10 years.

Since taking charge Graeme has substantially grown the business and built a reputation for quality service and technical know-how.  The business is poised for rapid growth and Graeme, like many SME business owner-operators, wanted to ensure the business could fully capitalise on the opportunity by implementing effective management systems.  One aspect of these systems was the introduction of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

The primary aim in introducing KPI’s was to maintain visibility of business activity as the company expanded and also to ensure service standards were maintained.  The Technical Projects team is a very close knit one, as is often the case in small and medium sized businesses.  Graeme was concerned that the introduction of KPI’s would be seen as a bit too ‘big brother’ and controlling by the team.  However his experience has proven to be quite the opposite.

“I was concerned that our staff might find the whole exercise of discussing and establishing Roles, Responsibilities, and KPI's a bit threatening but that wasn't the case at all.  Everyone has embraced the idea and working with enthusiasm to ensure they achieve their individual KPI. This is being done in a spirit of fun without the KPI appearing as a burdensome thing.” says Graeme Cooper.

How to Introduce KPI's to Your Team

Technical Projects engaged Eyes Wide Open to assist with the development of their strategic management systems.  Tim Goodlet was the Lead Consultant on the project. From years of general management experience with SME’s, Tim knows that the critical factor in successfully implementing KPI’s is how the concept is introduced to staff.  It’s important to put the team at ease and be transparent about your intent and how the data collected for KPI's will be used. Graeme Cooper also recognises this was the element that made the difference in the success of the project.

“We enjoyed working with Tim.  He related well to everyone and more importantly, put everyone at ease.  The way Tim discussed and introduced the concept to everyone contributed to its success.

To start with we review the KPI’s every Friday but after the procedure and recording is established it will be done monthly.  The first review was a bit daunting for me because I didn’t know how the team would react.  But now it’s something the team and I really enjoy doing.  We look forward to the reviews.”

Start with Easier Targets

Another element that drives the success of Tim’s projects is a focus on setting the team up for a ‘win’.  Reaching KPI’s is a motivating experience.  It gives the team drive and momentum.  Not achieving KPI’s can equally impact the team, causing demotivation.  Tim’s approach is to start with smaller targets and gradually build on success.  Graeme can testify to the benefits.

“Obviously we started off with easy targets and we will adjust them all as we go, but it has given everyone new direction and impetus.  At this stage I can say that I'm certainly glad we did it.  If we can maintain the momentum and fun aspect it will be fantastic.”

If you are thinking about introducing strategic management systems to drive rapid growth in your business then ensure you speak with Tim Goodlet to gain the experience and know-how you need to make the project a success.

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