Whether processing product or customer sales, beverage facility operations throughout the supply chain involve a variety of tasks that require or demand measuring to determine how well those tasks were accomplished. During the process of accomplishment, many measuring techniques have been and are still practiced to provide management with data comparing actual results with perceived benchmarks. 

To put task results in proper perspective, it is important in the existing working environment, from production to distribution, to focus on how some measurement methods are calculated and used, especially in the production phase. In the production phase, performance and line efficiency generally are used interchangeably and with different interpretations. Therefore, the posture of these methods should be questioned, debated and even suspect as to true authenticity relative to original intent. 

From an operations perspective, it is important to understand the substance of these methods and why another approach might be more realistic and useful.

Performance is a term often used as a generic reference to how well tasks have been executed. It also is used when discussing line efficiency, which is entirely different in basis and use. Because of the manner in which it is used, performance posture clarification is necessary, important and must be handled accordingly. 

At a basic level, performance is the result of measuring an actual result versus an established standard based on conditions existing over a specific time. That is why many cost systems are based on standards, and where downtime in beverage production lines is a key factor. For example, a production line capable of 1,000 units a minute might only be able to operate at 800 units a minute because downtime conditions have negated the 100 percent level to 80 percent because of a 20 percent downtime experience. 

Using this approach, established standard production levels are compared with actual results to calculate performance — actual versus standard.

However, production line efficiency, often called line utilization, attempts to measure actual versus scheduled time with a difference referred to as downtime, or non-productive time. This has always been a debatable factor in the calculation because many use available instead of scheduled time. The disparity has made line efficiency posture somewhat suspect. But, regardless of the basis used, the downtime element is a realistic item to be analyzed and evaluated. 

Meanwhile, productivity, an excellent alternative, has been used as a one-size-fits-all measuring tool.  Research and experience indicate use of the term has various interpretations; nevertheless, the posture of productivity is strong if properly calculated and used. Productivity is the simplest and most direct measuring method to use production data and assess trends in machinery and labor. 

The factual elements are quantity and time. The equation is not new — for labor, units produced for each labor hour worked; and for machinery, units produced for each machine hour run. Accurate record keeping for both quantities and hours is absolute, avoids manipulation and is straightforward on the spot.

Performance, efficiency and productivity references apply to the entire supply chain when focused on distinct areas where quantity and time assessment is important. All told, it means: how well are we doing?