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Monitoring the business performance and tracking relevant insights in today’s digital age has empowered managers and C-level executives to obtain an invaluable volume of data that increases productivity and drives down costs. In fact, data has become the raw material that every business decision is based on while reporting software creates the environment to act on generated information swiftly and accurately. Enter the world of a KPI scorecard.
Tracking the success metrics based on your needs, and the time frame you select while comparing your values can be done with simple yet effective scorecards. Here, we will look at the definition of scorecards, see how they differentiate from dashboards, and dig deeper into KPI scorecard examples from business scenarios that are possible to apply to different departments throughout your organization—tools you can also use as a roadmap for online data analysis.
Let’s get started.
What Is A KPI Scorecard?
A KPI scorecard is a term used to describe a statistical record that measures progress or achievement towards a set performance indicator. It gives decision-makers the ability to combine specific metrics in order to gain an overview of a complete performance scorecard.
A dynamic scorecard dashboard provides an easy-to-understand visual representation of KPI performance and, as such, empowers decision-makers to make strategic tweaks that will streamline their business.
Data is only valuable if it’s presented and analyzed effectively. KPI-based scorecards are designed to enhance the data analytics process and help users derive additional value from very specific functions, tasks, or objectives. This makes KPI-style scorecards a data-driven microscope for sustained business success.
Scorecard analytics is essential to gaining a practical understanding of your KPIs and learning whether what you’re measuring is adding any value to your business.
The Benefits & Features Of Scorecards
Now let's examine some key scorecard report benefits and features. There are a number of business scenarios when they are useful, whether a specific KPI scorecard, performance scorecard template, or BI scorecard that utilizes a KPI software for generating valuable insights. Since there are 2 main (or umbrella) types, we will now explain the characteristics and benefits of each one.
1. Traditional scorecard
Traditional scorecards provide an at-a-glance, general overview of an entire company, department, team, or person. This ‘broadness’ is completely dependent on the goal that is set, whether from a client, or an internal manager. Benefits of these performance tools include:
- Time period: This kind, or a KPI scorecard, has a time period as a basic necessity. Time periods can show previous time periods or just an overview of a static one.
- Grading systems and totals: The performance level is based on a grading system, for example, of an employee that summarizes his or her scores to the overall objectives through an employee scorecard template we will discuss later.
- Comparisons: They can vary between people, departments, set goals, or previous goals, or budgets.
Now that you have a fundamental understanding of traditional scorecards, let’s take a look at the advantages of working with balanced-type scorecards.
2. Balanced scorecard
A balanced scorecard template offers a comprehensive snapshot of a company’s components, cogs, and operations as a whole. A balanced scorecard KPI, for example, presents data not only on the external sales and services of a business but also on its many internal functions perspectives.
Often, such a KPI-centric tool is referred to as a balanced scorecard dashboard. It's possible to present a number of values from one central location. A KPI balanced scorecard includes top indicators per perspective (usually the most measurable KPIs). Objectives and goals are clearly written (i.e., cut spending or increase revenue) while targets are included as numeric future values to show the comparison between current status and target, or comparing with the previous values. It must also include current values within a set time frame.
The benefits of a balanced model include:
- Enhanced strategic planning: It can improve strategic communication between the cause and effect relationship. That means that building a strategy and identifying outcomes can be clearly correlated by structuring a complete business picture.
- Improved management decisions: By using a KPI scorecard template, a company is forced to create scorecard metrics for its strategic goals. This will ultimately ensure that managers measure what actually matters and thus increase the quality of information needed to make better KPI reports and data-driven decisions.
- Advanced performance reporting: A structured approach by using performance scorecard examples that we will explain later, enables companies to enhance the KPI management processes that bring transparency of information internally and externally by creating meaningful management reports.
- Increased organizational transparency: The use of a balanced scorecard also helps in creating a renewed sense of internal cohesion and transparency across the entire organization. If everyone has access to digestible scorecard sample analytics and understands the value of the metrics that are being measured, it will become easier to connect, collaborate, and share insights. As a result, you’re likely to see your productivity and internal innovation levels soar, which, in turn, will push you ahead of your competitors.
With a simple scorecard template, you get to real grips with your strategic planning, communication, and decision-making processes. A balanced scorecard metrics template will ensure that you can squeeze every last drop of value from your KPI data, creating actionable insights that will propel your commercial success rather than merely treading water or shooting in the dark.
Oftentimes, scorecards and dashboards are used as synonyms, especially a balanced scorecard dashboard, but we have to differentiate the two since they do have some similarities and can be connected, but they are 2 different sets of data analysis and performance tracking. Let’s take a look at that in more detail.
Scorecards vs Dashboards In Business - What Is The Actual Difference?
Many people talk about the 'dashboard scorecard,' but does this expression even make sense? There are numerous differences between scorecard and dashboard, and now we will concentrate on the most prominent ones to get a distinct picture of the two.
- Purpose and updates: The purpose of an online dashboard is to monitor performance while a scorecard is concentrated on managing the performance. Professional dashboards have integrated intelligent alarms that monitor data on a real-time basis while scorecards do that periodically (daily, weekly/monthly/quarterly). Let’s say you’re sitting in a meeting, presenting data to relevant stakeholders. A dashboard will immediately set an alarm (during the meeting) if a specific business anomaly occurred. A scorecard will tell you the same information, but one week later. On the other hand, on a KPI scorecard template, you could see how many values you miss until you reach the set targets and, therefore, you can decide on which steps you need to take.
- Decision nature and influences: A live dashboard is used daily in companies as they provide and offer an easy to access operational view of success while scorecards focus on companies policies. Data in dashboards are used to provide more efficient day-to-day management of teams, expenses, and resources while scorecards always compare the performance to the set target values. While there are numerous types of dashboards that can also be used for different business needs and interconnect with scorecards, it might make sense to use both to get the most out of the business information and overall picture.
- Measures and parameters: Scorecards are most commonly focused to track KPIs in comparison to a set target. However, since their data is not updated on a real-time basis, they can only look into this information periodically, as mentioned earlier. That means that scorecards will often aim to the overall progress (towards meeting targets or measuring the efficiency of a particular department) and strategic goals relative to KPIs, thus enabling managers to make informed decisions on a larger scale.
It is common to use the term dashboard scorecard since the two can be interconnected, as mentioned, but here is a visual summary of scorecards vs dashboards to get a clearer overview of the differences:
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From this table, it’s clear that dashboards and scorecards have some distinct differences. Perhaps the most significant is the long-term, almost “slow-release” nature of scorecards. While it is possible to extract some real-time information from scorecards, these are primarily designed for developing innovative long-term strategies that will ultimately make your business more adaptable to change.
We have established the definition, general characteristics, benefits, and the difference between a scorecard and a dashboard. Now we will discuss and focus on business scenarios they can and will improve if used correctly, and how.
When To Use Scorecards? Real Examples Explained
Now, it’s time to look at some real-world KPI scorecard examples.
Our first example below could be used for a large or mid-sized company. We have made an overview of the financial goals, learning and growth, customer, and internal objectives.
1. Balanced scorecard – how is my company performing?
Let’s see what this example is telling us by starting with the time frame and financial objectives.
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We have set the target date as December 2018, and we can see on the top of the example above that the current time frame combines the first 11 months of the year. On the example, we can see how, and if, our goals are being met (or not).
In the financial objective, we have set our yearly targets to increase the total revenue, net profit, profit margin, and profit per customer. The first column shows that our target was set at € 5.458, and our current target shows we have reached € 6.197. The final column shows that we have achieved the target, and even exceeded 13.5%. Mission accomplished.
Now let’s take a look at our goal to increase the profit margin. We can see that we have one month left to reach the set target of 25.5%, but we are on the margin of 23%. It is unlikely that we will be able to do so in just a month (we miss almost 10% to achieve it), so our line color at the right side of the scorecard shows the corresponded likelihood (you can also see the full legend at the bottom of it). Overall, we can say our financial objectives are performing well, with setbacks in the profit margin that we can use for next year’s planning and business adjustments.
Let’s go to the customer objectives: increasing the number of active customers and signups, sustain customer retention, and improve overall satisfaction. We see that these targets are not likely or very likely to achieve. It would be possible to increase the number of active customers by launching a marketing campaign that will focus on this goal, but we see that other targets are unlikely or even very unlikely to reach. We can notice that we even lost customers and our goal was to sustain the retention. We fall short of 14.6% and to reach this target within a month, it would be extremely hard, not to say impossible. Our customer satisfaction also dropped by 14% and to improve it in such a short time frame, we can comfortably say it will not happen, and the red line on the right clearly sums it up.
The same analysis we can apply to the learning and growth, and internal objectives. Some of the targets are very likely to achieve, some unlikely. This can help in our strategic planning for the next year, and to see what kind of setbacks we had and how to improve them. If we dig deeper into the daily operations and performance, we might be able to define specific causes that have affected these results.
That being said, our next example will focus on the specific performance of an agent working in customer service.
2. Performance scorecard - benefit from employee scorecards
One of our performance scorecard examples provides a general overview of an individual or departmental overall performance. Let’s see this through a visual example.
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Meet Sophie. She works in customer service in Texas, and her overall performance is superb. She has 18 points above target and she is the second-best customer service agent in the year 2018. Let’s explore what she can teach her colleagues and where she could improve herself even more through an employee scorecard example.
The manager of the department has set the weighting of her grading system based on percentages that are important to the overall positive performance of the department. Her specific performance is divided on the gradings set by averages, customer focus, and the weekly call cycle (also the average number). These main gradings are distributed even more into detailed aspects during a set time frame, in this case, the year 2018. Her target numbers are followed by her actual, so she and her manager can clearly see the exact difference in performance. The next column shows how much she is off-target (also exceeded), and the overall score. If her manager would go into details, s/he can suggest how to adjust her response time and calls per hour to increase efficiency. We can see that her customer retention is 20 points above target which means she could talk to other colleagues who don’t perform that well and share her best tips and tricks. Her solved issues are also on a high level of performance which is extremely important in a customer service role.
Her manager can easily conclude that Sophie is a top performer, and this employee example shows exactly in which aspects.
This employee scorecard example can be also used during and throughout a project or at the end of the project looking back. It is a compact view for project managers, department leaders, and top executives to see how efficiently, successfully, and within expectations, the project or employee performance is progressing. If you want to go deeper into call center data management, we suggest you read our article on call center reporting.
3. Warehouse KPI scorecard - Monitor your picking & packing
Our next example is a warehouse KPI scorecard that aims to monitor the entire picking and packing process in 4 main areas: financial, effectiveness, utilization, and quality. By monitoring the performance of these areas in detail businesses like e-commerce or retailers can efficiently manage their supply chain as well as save money and time with effective processes. Let's take a deeper look at the KPI scorecard.
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Starting off with the financial area, we first see the pick and pack cost per order. This includes all costs related to picking and packing, for example, the workforce, the packaging materials, or the equipment. As with all other metrics in this dashboard, the costs are compared to a target of last month’s performance. In this case, costs were higher than the previous period so it is worth taking a deeper look to lower those numbers. One way of doing this is by analyzing each line of work in detail. Here we can see that line A had higher costs than B and C. A good course of action would be to test different methods on each line and see which one had lower costs in the end. Next to this metric, the dashboard displays the costs of return, this should always be as low as possible since returns are one of the most expensive processes for your warehouse.
Moving on to the utilization section of the pick & pack dashboard is the cost of packaging materials. The goal here should be to never use more materials than you need to since this can increase the overall costs and give your business a bad reputation for not adopting sustainable practices in regard to materials usage. A good strategy here would be to predefine packaging measures depending on the size of the order, this way you make sure you don’t waste materials by packing small items in huge boxes. Paired to this we see the equipment utilization which should never be higher than 90% as this would mean your employees need to wait in line to use the equipment delaying your entire order processing.
The effectiveness section of the logistics dashboard aims to monitor the performance of your employees as well as the efficiency of your logistics processes. This is done by measuring the amounts of orders pick and packed per person in an hour and the average length cycle of picking and packing an item.
Last but not least is the quality section, here we see the picking accuracy and the return rate, both of these metrics directly impact the costs of returns as well as customer satisfaction. No one wants to order something online and get the wrong item delivered. For this reason, you should closely monitor these metrics to ensure that everything is efficient and ensuring a good quality service.
Let’s go quickly to our next performance template and see what kind of scorecard we can create that can be included in a comprehensive social media report.
4. Marketing KPI scorecard example for social media
This is one of the KPI scorecard examples that is focused on marketing activities performed on social media. We can see an overview of four different social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Let’s see how we perform against our set targets.
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On Facebook, we have defined that our followers’ target number is 2500. We can clearly see that the actual number is 2400 and that we miss 4% to reach our goal. If we compare it to the previous period, we can definitely conclude that we have increased the number of total followers by 2.3%. The same we can apply to the number of impressions, link clicks, and engagement. The graph below shows us the trend of our CTR during a 6-month period. If we see that all of our other scorecard metrics have achieved our set targets, we can create a campaign that will focus only on increasing the number of followers and therefore complete all of our Facebook objectives.
While every social media platform is different concerning user demographics, engagement times, features, and functionality, by getting your content marketing efforts just right, you stand to boost brand awareness and increase your audience across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Cohesive and consistent, the operational metrics included within this particular example will empower you (as explained in our Facebook case example above) to benchmark your performance across every platform and understand where you need to make improvements.
Here, it’s possible to understand where engagement levels are dwindling, for example. If you notice a negative shift in engagement on a specific platform, and you’re below target, you’ll be able to examine the reason why. It could be the times you post, for example. By comparing your performance across platforms and conducting research into best content posting times while consulting additional customer scorecard KPIs to gain a panoramic picture of your consumer-facing communications data, you will be able to boost engagement levels and exceed your targets consistently.
The success of your social media and marketing strategies will have a significant impact on your overall levels of growth as well as long-term success. These metrics will prove invaluable in driving innovation and gaining an all-important edge on the competition.
Similar social media KPIs can be found in other platforms as well, enabling us to adjust our campaigns accordingly.
5. Manufacturing KPI scorecard template
We’ve considered customer scorecard, marketing, and logistics examples, and now it’s time to explore the use of manufacturing-based KPIs. Typically found under the branch of a supplier scorecard dashboard, our manufacturing example provides a high-level snapshot of essential data.
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With a mix of balanced insights designed to help COOs make informed strategic decisions across the board, this tool features relevant indicators for a balanced scorecard. Split into four definitive sections—Effectiveness, Quality/Performance, Production, and Cost/Revenue—this powerful tool drills down into manufacturing KPIs that go the extra mile.
Here, COOs and senior operational staff can benefit from a definitive “at a glance” snapshot of insights centered on the effectiveness of elements, including equipment as well as project delivery and revenue per employee.
Moreover, powerful scorecard metrics like production volume provide excellent decision-making tools. This interactive metric offers a working snapshot of what your factories are capable of producing over a certain timeframe (monthly, annually, etc.). By comparing your data discoveries to previous timeframes, you can assess your performance and make effective tweaks that will help you drive down unnecessary costs, streamline your production delivery processes, and create a viable plan B should any of your equipment let you down unexpectedly. Moreover, visualizing these metrics on a TV dashboard will make sure everyone in the team has a strategic overview of the most critical aspects of sustainable growth.
To complement this metric, the dashboard's production downtime KPI will help you continuously enhance your manufacturing processes while making it more financially efficient. If your machinery is out of operation, you can’t produce your products, and you cannot turn a profit. So, in a high-level operational sense, reducing your production downtime as much as possible should be a top priority.
With this digestible and easily quantifiable visual created with online business intelligence software, you can get to the root of the problem swiftly by understanding what percentage of your downtime is attributed to which specific issue or inefficiency. As such, you can take decisive measures to drive down your overall production downtime while making strategic tweaks that will minimize issues, including servicing problems, missing parts, or broken machines.
When it comes to manufacturing, efficiency and consistency are key. If you’re able to keep everything running fluently while trimming down any unnecessary costs or processes, you will increase your output and improve your bottom line consistently over time.
Monitor this digital dashboard on a regular basis, keep measuring your progress, and you will accelerate the progress of your business—a testament to the power of scorecard reporting and analytics.
How To Create A KPI Scorecard?
We’ve shown you 5 real industry examples of how a KPI scorecard can boost business performance. Now, in order to help you benefit from the powers of these visualization tools we put together a small list of tips and tricks you need to follow in order to achieve the kind of results you expect from your scorecards. Let’s dig into it!
- Define clear business goals
As we’ve mentioned before, a KPI scorecard is a visual tool based on specific goals. Hence, the first thing you need to do in order to create a successful scorecard is to define your main business goals and strategies. Your goals can be short-term (daily or monthly) or long-term (quarterly or annually), and can also be specific to certain areas of the business or more general to the overall growth of the company. The most important thing to consider here is that your goals should be realistic and achievable.
- Create a strategy roadmap
Once you have your business goals in hand, you also need to define certain measures or strategies to apply in order to achieve them. For this purpose, you can create a strategic roadmap that lists all the measures you and your workforce will implement in order to achieve the general goals. When creating your strategy you need to consider your budget, working capabilities, possible opportunities, and correlations between each strategy. Once you have everything defined, you can put it together in a roadmap that will later be analyzed with the help of a KPI scorecard.
- Define your KPIs
Arguably the most important step to create a successful KPI scorecard is to define the metrics you will use to measure your performance. There are many KPIs available in all key areas of a business, however, only specific ones will actually tell you the insights you need to measure your goals. That said, when choosing your metrics make sure they are measurable, they provide context to your main goal, and that they can evolve in time.
If you want to find the best KPIs for your business goals take a look at our KPI examples, we cover several industries and functions for real-world businesses.
- Set performance targets
Once you have defined the main KPIs to track your goals, you need to define targets or benchmarks that will give your company something to work towards. These targets are the basis of a KPI scorecard as they will give you insights into the performance of your business. Common benchmarks can be last month’s performance, a bigger business goal, or an industry average. Just make sure that the values you define are attainable and realistic to your business.
For example, if you want your business to be more sustainable, you can set a goal of decreasing the carbon footprint by 20% in a year. This can be tracked with smaller actions such as less use of materials, as we saw in our pick and pack example, or finetuning the picking accuracy of your orders to avoid unnecessary transportation on returned items. These two smaller goals can be tracked by using last month’s performance as a target value to decrease every month.
- Involve all relevant departments
Last but not least in our tips to create KPI scorecards is to involve every relevant person in the process. In most cases, your business goals will depend on multiple areas of the business to be completed. By using interactive KPI dashboards to visualize your data you will facilitate inner departmental collaboration since everyone will have access to the data, leading to increased business productivity and growth.
Gather Your Data With Scorecard Reporting
Scorecard reporting encompasses all of the information we’ve discussed in our real-world examples and practical information.
This unique style of reporting is also invaluable for offering persuasive information and arguments for strategic decisions in all departmental updates or gatherings while showcasing how much into detail a manager should go surrounding a specific task or business function.
As such, scorecard reporting is a great way to present a complete overview of the scorecard status and any additional information a C-level executive might want to share with their team.
We’ve explained the dynamics of a KPI scorecard, explored real business scenarios relating to businesses of all sectors and sizes, touched on BI dashboards of many varieties (from a customer to safety KPI scorecard, and beyond), and explained balanced scorecard performance measurement examples.
During our data-driven journey, one thing became clear: scorecard-based KPIs and metrics are the most effective means of benchmarking your success while giving your business-based activities definitive direction.
By investing in scorecard dashboards and data analysis software, it’s possible to push the envelope in terms of productivity and innovation more than you ever thought possible. Now, everyone within the organization can gain access to the level of accessible information that will optimize their performance while contributing to the evolution of the company as a whole.
Keeping the score of your performance is no longer a far-flung luxury. It’s now a living, breathing reality that will not only ensure you survive but will help you thrive in an ever-changing digital world.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Embrace the power of digital technology and measure your success the right way by creating your own scorecard with our software. Try it now with our free 14-day trial.