Top 12 most important metrics that must be measured when manufacturing

Feb 19, 2020 by Mark Dingley

At Matthews, our motto is: you can’t manage it if you can’t measure it.

metrics measurement

Taking your business to the next level

Any manufacturer who wants to improve their business and continue to grow needs to collect and analyse all relevant data and metrics available.

We’ve found numbers to be a powerful thing in business. With the right metrics, you can spot sticking points and weed out any weak spots in your production line and processes. With these insights and information, you can continuously improve and refine your business!

As with all numbers and data collection, gathering your metrics must be done systematically. Not only should you collect the relevant metrics in the correct way, you also need a proper review process – and only then can you act on the results.


The 12 Metrics you MUST measure

  • 1

    Manufacturing cycle time

    Cycle time refers to the total running time from the beginning through to the end of a process. In manufacturing, this measures the time it takes for a product to pass through all relevant machines, complete all process and cycles before becoming a finished product. By measuring this time, you can reduce it – allowing you to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and deliver better responses to customers.

  • 2

    Time between changeovers:

    A changeover is the process of converting a line or machine from producing or running one project to another, and this metric measures the time that it takes to make this switch! This can take anywhere from a few minutes, to hours, or even days, depending on the equipment. When tracking the process, you can identify where and how improvements can be made. A great example could be to use equipment that is easier to configure.

  • 3


    One of the simples, yet most important metrics when it comes to manufacturing, throughput measures the average number of units produced by your machine, unit, line or factory over a pre-specified period of time. If your throughput decreases without warning, you know there is an issue. To improve your throughput, consider automated machinery, lean processes, and so forth.

  • 4

    Capacity utilisation

    Measuring this metric allows you to determine to what degree your potential output levels are being met. Given as a percentage of total potential output, this offers invaluable insight into the performance of your facility.

  • 5

    Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

    OEE is globally recognised as a key performance indicator and best practice measure, analysising the efficiency and productivity of a single piece of equipment or overall production line. This is done by assessing the quality, speed and downtime: availability x performance x quality. The higher your OEE score, the more cost-effective and profitable your business will be. A perfect production score of 100% means you are manufacturing only the highest quality units, as quickly as possible, with no downtime. Learn more about measuring and improving your OEE here.

  • 6

    Schedule or production attainment

    How often your facility achieves its target level of production within the set time? This is called a ‘schedule attainment score’ or ‘production attainment score’. Measure as a percentage of the scheduled production, a lower percentage may indicate that your machinery hasn’t been correctly optimised or that your production team can’t plan for real-time changes.

  • 7

    Percentage planned v emergency maintenance work orders

    Maintenance staff widely use the Planned Maintenance Percentage (PMP) to measure the total number of maintenance hours spent across a given time period on planned maintenance activities. For instance, a 75% PMP would be achieved if 300 hours were spent on planned maintenance activities out of a total of 400 hours spent on maintenance (it can also be shown as a ration metric, in this instance displayed as 3:1).

    The reason this metric is measured, is because it can help you reduce your unplanned maintenance work – this can cost up to nine time more than planned maintenance, as you pay for rushed parts, service callouts, downtime, overtime and more. Check out this article on our top three steps for a successful planned maintenance program, learn more about the difference between preventative maintenance and breakdown repairs, and find out how to choose the best provider for your machinery. At Matthews, our support team is available 24/7, so you can reduce downtime and increase productivity. 

  • 8


    This metric is used to determine the ratio of operating time compared to planned production time – where operating time is the planned production time minus any downtime. The result is a direct indicator of your availability for production.

  • 9


    This is the oldest metric used in manufacturing. There are typically two ways that it is measured.

    • First Pass Yield

      this is the percentage of products that are correction made to the specifications the first time, without any scrap, re-run or re-working. It is measured by taking the number of units correctly coming out of the production line the first time divided by the number of units requiring a second run.

    • Overall Yield

      This is the percentage of products produced that meet all specifications, regardless of whether or not re-working was required.

  • 10

    Customer rejects and returns

    have rejected the products or requested returns due to poor quality or out-of-specification products. This should be taken as direct evidence of your standard of quality. However, if you are measuring your above metrics correctly and acting on negative data, then these occurrences should be few and far between!

  • 11

    Supplier quality incoming

    Measuring the supplier quality is critical in determining your product’s final quality. You could also consider measuring the percentage of bad quality materials coming from your supplier, called the ‘supplier defect rate’.

  • 12

    Customer fill rate, on time delivery or perfect order percentage

    This final metric is key to creating a satisfactory order management process and will have a huge impact on your customer relationships. It shows the percentage of orders that were shipped correctly and on time, essentially showing how effectively you can offer your services to your customers. The higher your fill rate, the more your customers will trust you – and choose your business over your competitors! It can also be used to determine how efficient your production line is at sticking to production schedules and getting your products off the factory floor. Always aim for 100%!


What you don’t know CAN hurt you

By putting aside time to improve on how you collect, manage and act on your manufacturing metrics, you can create a more successful, prosperous business. If you want to learn more about achieving 100% in all of your metrics, contact Matthews today.