Procuring, Managing, and Evaluating the Performance of Contracted TMC Services
Data, while potentially easy to collect and analyze, may not always be readily apparent as to meaning. A careful investigation of not only what the data show, but also how best to present the information, is an area that deserves some significant attention. This challenge can be compounded by the need to present results to different groups, such as TMC management, contractors, and the general public. The level of detail and specificity associated with each group may be vastly different, although the topic area is the same.
The last two challenges of management of the program and costs often go hand-in-hand. Performance measurement does require funding to implement, although once in-place, the goal should be that the process becomes a part of normal operations and is not seen as anything other than normal business practices to obtain the best results from contracted services.
Common Classification Schemes for Performance Measures
Performance measures can be categorized in any of a number of ways. Measures can look at the amount of materials used or the result of using those materials. Measures can be constructed that look at efficiency or customer satisfaction. Each measure is different and serves a different purpose.
The main use of any type of classification system is simply to provide some organization to a list of measures. In and of itself, the classification provides no additional benefit to any particular measure; it simply helps the practitioner organize measures into effective groups to support the evaluation needs and to ensure that the list of measures covers all the areas of the evaluation that are necessary. If agencies use a systems engineering process to develop work flows or tasks for their contracting efforts, performance measures could be tied to the various components of the process to ensure that each aspect of the process is being appropriately analyzed and measured for success.
Input /Output/Outcome Classification
One of the simplest methods for classifying performance measures is using one of three categories; input, output, and outcome.
The first category of measures is related to inputs. Input measures examine the resources available to carry out a program or activity, such as the number of people required to perform routine maintenance on roadside equipment.
An output measure is primarily an objective numerical assessment and is typically the result of a tabulation or calculation. Items such as the average repair time or system up-time are typical output measures.
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