Improvement tools: Target outcomes

Page last updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2017 - 11:54am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

While there are lots of things that need to be done every day in a business, it is important to keep our eye on what it is we are trying to achieve; the target outcomes.

Being clear about these helps to focus resources and effort on what really matters. It also means we can keep track of performance.

Outcomes and outputs are different. Here is an example using a coffee shop to show how they differ (Figure 1). Inputs such as staff, ingredients and equipment are used in coffee making processes and activities to produce outputs. The outputs are cups of coffee, however the outcomes that are being targeted are customer satisfaction, market share and increased profit. These are the end results needed from investing in the inputs.

A flow chart that shows how inputs such as ingredients and equipment are used in coffee making activities to produce cups of coffee which are outputs. These contribute to outcomes such as customer satisfaction and increased profit.
Figure 1 The difference between outputs and outcomes.

If the coffee shop manager targets outputs they would produce more cups of coffee. But there is no guarantee the coffee would satisfy customers. Without satisfied customers there would be a loss of market share and decreased profit.

If the manager focuses on outcomes, they would make sure the outputs, that is the cups of coffee, satisfy the customers.

Having target outcomes means the manager would focus the inputs, activities and processes on delivering the outcomes. Trained staff using fresh ingredients and good equipment would produce a range of quality coffees that satisfied customers. This would keep customers coming back, bring in more customers, and contribute to increased profits.

Other tools to use with Target outcomes

Target outcomes can be used in step 1 of the CI&I - Continuous improvement and innovation process.

You can use the SMARTT goal tool to make your target outcomes more specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, targeted and timeframed.

Develop critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) after you have developed your target outcomes.

Support to use the tool

Please contact us if you would like help to develop target outcomes.