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The KPI conundrum- Part 1: How performance metrics can undermine mining operations.

Miners have to increase productivity and profits while grades decline and mines deepen. At the same time, social norms put pressure on attracting and retaining more diverse personnel and creating rewarding careers for all.


Unfortunately, we often observe poor outcomes for all these imperatives when we push KPIs the traditional way. The flow chart below illustrates how negative interactions spiral towards ever-intensifying poor results.


Flow chart summary: Managing by KPIs per department is considered essential to driving efficiency and profit maximization in mines. The information age has enabled the ability to increase the number of KPIs and areas of focus seamlessly. However, this approach can lead to employees taking an interest solely in their KPIs, often at the expense of the broader organization's performance. As a result, trust and cooperation between departments decrease, systemic problems are overlooked, and overall performance declines. Managers pushing KPIs harder in response only exacerbate the issue, reducing employee engagement and psychological safety and intensifying the negative spiral.


Feel free to critique the flow chart (negative feedback loops in red) and let us know your thoughts on adjustments that would better represent the challenge.


In the next post, we will identify the necessary changes to setting and managing KPIs that have generated significant results over the last 20 years.



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