Five Different Types of Business Efficiency Goals

“Efficiency” in your business or organization is not a standalone metric. Rather, it always refers to another measure, whether that is money, time, quality, or something else entirely. A well-rounded efficiency-enhancing endeavor includes a number of different types of goals to ensure that the project’s spirit is clear to all current and future participants.

Working on a single metric can leave the door wide open for missteps, whether they be accidentally tanking quality in pursuit of cost savings, or missing secondary goals (you want to improve customer service response times and customer service satisfaction).

Use the following sections to help your creative juices flow as you brainstorm goals for your company, your division, or yourself.

Monetary goals: What to save, what to earn

Common types of goals related to money include the following:

  • Spend $X or X percent less

    • Spend $50,000 less on research and development in the next six months.

    • Spend 10 percent less in every department this fiscal year.

  • Earn $X or X percent more

    • Earn $100,000 more on Product Line A this fiscal year.

    • Earn 15 percent more from outside sales next month.

  • Increase net profit by $X or X percent

  • Increase billable hours

    • Bill at least 27 hours per week per consultant for the next six months.

  • Decrease non-billable hours

    • Reduce non-billable hours to less than 10 per employee per week.

Percentages are better suited for organizations trying to fight financial bloat, but exact dollar amounts are necessary when you have specific budgets or only a certain amount of money in the bank with which to work.

Goals to improve sentiment: Make them love you

Common types of goals related to customer or employee sentiment include the following:

  • Increase employee satisfaction with X

    • Increase employee satisfaction with growth opportunities to 98 percent.

    • Increase employee satisfaction with their current qualifications by 5 percent.

    • Reach 100 percent employee satisfaction with their current positions.

  • Increase brand awareness

    • Reach 67 percent brand awareness in our target market of 18- to 35-year-old females

  • Increase customer satisfaction

    • Reach 98 percent customer satisfaction after support calls by January 17.

  • Increase customer retention

    • Increase the percentage of renewing subscribers to 50 percent this month

Goals to increase product and service quality

Common types of goals related to product or service quality include the following:

  • Increase on-time deliveries

    • Increase on-time deliveries to 92 percent.

  • Decrease defects

    • Decrease defect rate in labeling to 50 defects per million.

  • Decrease rework

    • Decrease rework percentage in manufacturing to less than 1 percent of production.

  • Decrease “no-go’s” (products that are unacceptably defective)

    • Decrease no-go’s to no more than 1 per week.

  • Decrease variation

    • Decrease widget width variation to 0.003mm.

    • Decrease widget thickness variation by 50 percent.

  • Decrease unused inventory

    • Decrease unused inventory so it all fits in the storage room.

  • Increase the # or % of successful support inquiries

    • Increase the percent of resolved customer support inquiries by 10 percent.

  • Decrease customer returns

    • Decrease warranty returns by 70 percent over the next year.

  • Increase Sigma

    • Operate manufacturing at Five Sigma next year (or fewer than 233 defects per million opportunities).

Goals to shorten response and production times

Common types of goals related to time or speed include:

  • Decrease time

    • Lower lead times by 20 minutes.

    • Eliminate waiting time between Assembly Lines A and B.

    • Decrease Takt time by 10 percent.

    • Decrease time from customer order to receipt of product to five business days by March.

    • Decrease the time it takes to switch from assembly to packaging by three minutes.

    • Decrease production time to under two weeks by December 1.

  • Decrease distance

    • Decrease the distance walked by assembly line employees by 10 percent.

  • Increase uptime

    • Increase service availability to 99.999 percent.

    • Increase support hours by 10 percent.

  • Decrease customer support hold times

    • *Decrease average customer support hold time to 30 seconds.

  • Decrease support resolution times

    • Decrease average support resolution time to 24 hours.

Goals can also be phrased negatively or neutrally. For example, “Remain #1 in our region for sales” is a neutral goal, where you want to maintain a position rather than change it. Similarly, “Don’t reduce customer satisfaction by more than 5 percent” may be a secondary goal for a cost-savings project.

Goals for individual employees and departments

Common types of goals for individual employees include the following:

  • Increase certification

    • Increase employee scores on annual safety exams to an average of 92.

    • Increase the number of Six Sigma black belts to 12.

  • Increase employee interactions

    • The CEO will spend at least one hour per month with each employee one-on-one.

  • Decrease safety incidents

    • Have zero accidents next year.

  • Increase employee retention

    • Retain each employee for at least one year.

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