Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Do they drive companies in the right direction?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are powerful tools that can steer companies towards success, but their effectiveness hinges on several critical factors. When designed and managed properly, KPIs provide clear direction, actionable insights, and foster a culture of accountability.

Ross Hudson, Consultant at Hatmill explains how to ensure your KPIs drive your company in the right direction: 

  • KPIs must align with your company’s strategic goals. Well-defined KPIs provide a clear focus on what’s important, helping employees understand how their efforts contribute to the overall success. Alignment ensures that everyone is focused on working towards the same objectives and encourages a united team all striving for the same goals. 
  • Effective KPIs are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). They should be relevant to the department or team’s function and accurately reflect the desired outcomes. Specific and relevant KPIs ensure that efforts are directed towards achieving tangible results that matter. 
  • KPIs should provide actionable insights, enabling management to make informed decisions and take timely corrective actions when needed. Effective KPIs highlight areas of success and pinpoint where enhancements are necessary, driving continuous improvement and strategic decision-making. 
  • A balanced set of KPIs covering various aspects of the business—financial, customer, internal processes, learning and growth—ensures a comprehensive view of performance. This balance prevents too much focus on one area at the expense of others, promoting a structured approach to performance management. 
  • Clear communication of KPIs to all employees, along with promoting an environment of ownership and accountability, is crucial. When employees understand how their work impacts KPIs, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged. This engagement drives performance and aligns individual efforts with the company’s goals. 
  • KPIs should be reviewed regularly and adapted as necessary. Business environments are dynamic, and KPIs that were once relevant might need adjustment to stay aligned with new goals or market conditions.  

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” [Albert Einstein]


KPIs can indeed drive companies in the right direction if they are well-designed, aligned with strategic goals, and used as part of an overall performance management system. They should be balanced, provide actionable insights, be achievable and be regularly reviewed and adapted to remain relevant. However, careful management is required to avoid the potential pitfalls such ~as short-termism, exploitation, misalignment, overcomplication, and lack of context. By addressing these considerations, companies can harness the full power of KPIs to achieve sustained success.

How can Hatmill help? 

Hatmill can help identify and implement new KPIs or evaluate a company’s existing KPIs, assessing if they align with the company’s overall strategy and goals, ensuring each KPI supports the company’s objectives and contributes meaningfully to them. Checking that all KPIs are: 

  • Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART), covering all critical business aspects without overemphasising any single area 
  • Using reliability and consistency of data sources 
  • Providing insights that help management make informed decisions and prompt corrective actions.  
  • Communicated and if there is clear ownership and accountability, checking the frequency and effectiveness of KPI reviews and adaptation mechanisms. 
  • Avoiding potential pitfalls like short-term focus, metric manipulation, departmental misalignment, and overcomplication.  

It is very easy for companies to fall into a false sense of security that their KPI’s are driving them in the right direction, having an independent review can confirm that they are, or provide recommendations that will. 

We’ve supported a variety of businesses in implementing KPIs in relation to their supply chain and logistics strategy. Please contact Ross Hudson to discuss further.  

Ideas & Insights

Sharing Our Expertise

Our guides, ideas and views. Explore our insights to deliver tangible improvements to your supply chain and logistics operations.