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Scott Whitbred on Data Driven Accountability

2 minutes, 47 seconds read

Originally hailing from Australia, Scott has spent the last 18 years in Boston as a consultant and manager to special projects. Our conversation focused on the critical role data and metrics play in managing operations within any company. Not such a novel idea, but I was impressed by Scott’s emphasis tying the data to the organizational activities.

According to Scott, “Data’s incredibly important. And it goes hand in hand with the leadership’s mindset and mental model of how performance works in their facilities. You need to collect data to measure where you’re at and bucket your lost percentage points into a list of things you can go and work on.” 

But he cautions about data quality and relevance. He has seen too many decisions made on faulty or the wrong data. “You also need a way of bringing the data together to model the process correctly so that your numbers are accurate and your opportunity values are represented.”

This mindset of data driving specific KPIs is most effective when it is consistent across the organization, transparent to all stakeholders, and the consequences of meeting or falling short of KPIs is clear.

“KPI is in your accountability process and needs to cascade all the way down to the front line. Another key part of that is making it visible and transparent and setting clear objectives and reviewing that performance regularly with the front lines. The goal is not to monitor people secretly and make sure they’re working hard enough, but to create a conversation where expectations are clear and achievable. That data driven accountability system is actually helping people succeed.”

Scott believes that the key to a successful framework is making a data-driven system work from the boardroom to the frontline.

But how do you get there? According to Scott, the best place to start is with a small core group and let that be an example to the rest of the organization as to what is possible. Success breeds success.

“It always makes sense to start with a core group and go and do something amazing on the improvement front in your business. And only good things can come from that. Maybe you create a little microcosm of culture that is more rewarding for you. And in addition, perhaps you inspire others nearby you within the organization to want to do what you’ve done as well. And change that way.”


Scott Whitbred started Elite Manufacturing in 2020 to provide a top-tier operations consulting service to small and medium-sized industrial businesses based on a simple principle that the product of consulting services should be business results (not reports or recommendations) and that the consulting fees should be commensurate with those results (no results, no fees).

He helps small and medium-sized manufacturers and distributors to improve productivity and profits by working hands-on with executive teams and their associates to devise and deliver profit improvement plans from start to finish.

Scott has worked with 100 different industrial facilities on more than 200 improvement campaigns over the past 20 years across a range of industries including: food & beverage, paper & packaging, chemicals, aerospace & defense, medical devices, oil & gas, mining and other diversified industries.

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