Manufacturing Performance Metrics

MESA has a long-standing commitment to understanding performance metrics for manufacturing and production companies. MESA's Metrics Working Group was formed in 2004 based on the needs of manufacturer / producer members to understand what impacts performance and make a case to management for core improvements in processes and IT systems.  To participate in the Metrics Working Group, click here.

For the first few years, MESA tried to find materials already published that we could help to disseminate to the members, but found nothing that matched the needs and could be made available at a reasonable price to all members.  So in 2006, MESA conducted its first research study, MESA Metrics that Matter. That same year and as an adjunct to the research, some of the best consultants in the organization created the MESA Metrics Guidebook.  In 2007, as the new MESA model became available the research study Metrics for Major Initiatives was generated. In 2008, new metrics definitions and calculations were published in Improving Order Execution Performance: A Holistic View of Metrics Across Plant and Warehouse, for which MESA collaborated with the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) and MHIA's Order Fulfillment Council and Supply Chain Systems and Technologies group. In 2009-2010, MESA executed the study Correlating Plant Performance with Business Performance along with a public highlights report, Metrics that Matter Revisited. In 2013-14, MESA collaborated with LNS Research to conduct a study on Manufacturing Metrics that Really Matter.  From that study, an eBook for Premium MESA members was published, along with a summary report for the public.  Also in 2014, a MESA Metrics Guidebook: ROI and Justification for MES was released.



\The MESA Metrics working group continues to drive to new activities and deliverables. We are planning another major research study to be released in 2016. MESA's new multi-year research program includes many facets and is led by a joint steering committee and executed by several individual groups working on specific aspects of the research.

Major objectives of the MESA metrics research program include:

  • Show trends for progress on metrics
  • Benchmark performance
  • Justify system investments
  • Link operations to financial improvements
  • Support strategic initiatives (MSI Guidebooks)
  • Create best practices guidance
  • Deliver a framework for metrics that can be delivered as freeware to premium members


Manufacturing Metrics that Really Matter, published in April 2014, focused on understanding the business aspect of metric programs that are being used across a wide range of manufacturing industries. With the breadth and span of available metrics, it is important that organizations choose the right metric approaches that align to business and manufacturing processes to deliver optimized improvement efforts.  These choices will vary by situation.


Correlating Plant Performance to Business Performance, published in February 2010, focuses on metrics practices and the improvements in plant performance that those who increased business performance have made.   It includes best practice tips, quotes from industry leaders, and a clear statement that any manufacturer or producer can achieve business performance improvements.

Download the research study here.  An overview is provided at the below YouTube video.














Metrics that Matter Revisited is a white paper that summarizes a few of the highlights of the 2009-2010 research study that even non-members can access. 

Download the research-based white paper here.


Improving Performance in Difficult Times: MESA Study Shows How: Lead researcher Julie Fraser presented this webcast live in December 2009 based on Phase 1 research findings from the study Correlating Plant Performance to Business Performance,  The preliminary findings are similar, but not identical, to those of the final report

Access the Webcast here.


Correlating Plant Performance to Business Performance at October 2009 MESA Europe Conference on Phase 1 research findings.


Improving Order Execution Performance: A Holistic View of Metrics Across Plant and Warehouse is a paper from 2008 published in conjunction with the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) and MHIA's Order Fulfillment Council and Supply Chain Systems and Technologies groups that describes the critical need to align performance measurement across the plant and warehouse execution functions, and provides shared definitions and calculations for over 50 relevant metrics.

Download the white paper here.


Metrics for Major Initiatives is the findings from a primary research study conducted in 2007 focused on several of the MESA Strategic Initiatives: Lean, Quality, and Real-time Enterprise.  It is a snapshot of what companies do to gauge the success of such initiatives.

Download the research study here.


In 2011, a new Second Edition Metrics Guidebook was released (original version released in 2006). It is intended as a source of information that can be used to develop appropriate performance metrics for manufacturing companies.  The goal is to provide guidelines and share experience about combining plant floor and all key plant operations and financial intelligence to help drive both business and operations excellence. 

Download the Guidebook here.


MESA Metrics that Matter is the original 2006 MESA research into performance metrics for manufacturing and production companies.  The findings from this original primary research provide a platform for companies to understand what differentiates companies that improve their business performance from others.

Download the study here.


This series of white papers introduce the concept of Time-in-State Management and the related Time-in-State Metric implementation methodology. 


MESA has initiated several studies on metrics over the past years to illustrate how metrics help enterprises to attain better performance. Several working groups have tackled different aspects of how metrics are used by different manufacturers in order to derive and document the best practices in this field.  This white paper is the result of a study conducted to evaluate how several different manufacturers successfully used metrics to diagnose and solve issues in their plants. This paper outlines the different processes involved in harnessing the power of metrics.


In 2010-12, MESA held a contest where one manufacturer in North America and one in Europe won a consulting engagement that helped them identify and measure a key performance metric and used the information to improve overall performance. The following presentations and webcasts highlight the winners' journeys and results: