Measurement of actual performance does not only mean knowing what has happened, but also what is likely to happen. It means that deviations are predicted in advance, which helps the management to take corrective action in advance for the achievement of goals. As such, it is desirable to measure performance as soon as the operations are completed. Not only this, it can also be measured while the activity is in progress, so that appraisal would be possible in time.
Measurement of performance can be done by personal observation, as in the case of subordinates being observed while they are engaged in work, and by a study of various summaries of figures, reports, charts and statements. If the control system is well organized, quick comparison of these figures with the standard figures is quite possible. This will reveal variations. Some variations are desirable, such as the output above the standard or expenses below the standard. But some other variations are undesirable, such as a variation in the delivery schedule agreed upon with customer or a variation in the speed limit fixed for all drivers.
One important point to be considered before introducing a control system is whether measurement and comparison are to be done at various stages in the total process, or at the end. If the purpose of control is to troubleshoot while trouble is forming, then observation should be done at various strategic points as work progresses.
The actual performance can be easily compared if the standards are properly determined and methods are clearly communicated. The manager should concentrate on those main deviations, which are noticed while making the appraisal. But he/ she should not waste his time and energy on small deviations. This approach will give the correct, quick and favorable results. At the same time, simple and effective action also avoids uneconomic watching, wastages of time and attention.
While comparing the actual and standard performance, it is wiser to find out the extent, nature and basic causes for deviations. A competent manager does not find any difficulty in locating the deviation points while measuring the actual performance properly.
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