Procuring, Managing, and Evaluating the Performance of Contracted TMC Services
Planning – measures that answer the question of “What can I plan for the future?”.
The key to a successful program is not to rely on any single type of measure. In any family of measures (classification scheme), there will be multiple measures of each type utilized in any on-going program. The goal of performance measurement is to identify measures that help the TMC to better manage, control, and improve their outsourcing operations.
What Makes a Good Measure?
For most any activity, there are probably dozens of measures that can be defined. As stated previously, however, the goal of performance measurement is to facilitate the management, control, and improvement of their systems and contracting. This involves selecting not just measures, but good measures. The obvious question then is what makes a good measure?
First and foremost, a performance measure must measure or gauge the right item. It does so by focusing on the desired end results and determining if they are being met. A performance measure should focus on the end result—not the measurement itself.
The second trait of a good performance measure is that it is accepted. Generally, this means that the measure must be simple, understandable, unambiguous, and meaningful to the customer, regardless of whom the customer is. To best accomplish this, agencies may well use different measures for different customers. In terms of outsourcing, while a TMC has contractual authority over the agencies providing the outsourcing, the choice of measures should be mutually accepted by both the TMC and the contractor. This helps to ensure that both agencies will support the measure, the data needs, and the interpretation of the results.
The third trait is that performance measures must be responsive and/or sensitive to data they are measuring. They do this by clearly showing any trends, changes, minimums or maximums. Notice that this closely relates to one of the previously discussed classification schemes. A performance measure that is insensitive to events within the data will not be meaningful to either the agency or the contractor it cannot accurately depict progress or change.
The fourth trait of a good measure is that it is appropriate. Judging the appropriateness of a selection is typically done in two ways. First, the timeframe must be suitable to the desire. If the desire is to determine a percent reduction in incidents, the measure should look at a lengthy analysis period, such as a week, month, or even a year. Reporting on a timeframe of minutes, hours, or even a day, would make little sense and would be an inappropriate timeframe for this measure. Second, the measure must be geographically appropriate. Measures can be directed towards a point, a segment, and entire facility or travel corridor, and even a region. A reduction in travel time would not make sense at a point location, but might be a good measure from a corridor or regional perspective.
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