KPIs – Who needs them?

What KPIs would you suggest are the best for Customer Service and/or Supply (logistics, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, etc)?
Many people can advise the regular quantity/volume based ones but providing real quality based KPIs is much more difficult.  Not because it can be hard to define them, it is usually more to do with people’s perception at which point quality measurement should measured – this is especially so with Customer Service.

I manage this by getting a definition of what the Key Result Areas are, then getting confirmation as to what aspects indicate success in each area, only then can the KPIs be set.

But KPIs must be easily obtained, and easily monitored.  This also depends very much on cycle times.  Daily/weekly and monthly KPIs should all reflect different aspects of the business and together tell a story of how the company is functioning.

Many times I have seen reports and KPIs that actually hinder the process, using up vital resources and sometimes even sending people on exercises that are not required as the message gets diluted or worse, confused.

Good KPIs are invaluable for a business in identifying trends and gaps in process and capabilities – the not so good ones are at best, a waste of time.