The London Public Library is an organization pning the city of London, delivering services from 16 physical locations. The core services of the library include reference, reader’s advisory and referral; collections and lending; technology services; programming and community outreach. The library is focused on literacy, learning, culture/leisure/recreation, information and community meeting place. The past few years have seen significant resources pegged towards fund raising strategies, resulting in other areas of the organization being neglected and overlooked. In order to address this situation, our CEO Anne Becker has introduced a Balanced Score Card approach to move ahead to tackle other problems plaguing the organization. She believes that with the Balanced Score Card approach she can leverage her efforts to where they are needed the most and would address the core values and promises of the organization.
2. Problem Statement
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The major problem that Anne Becker is trying to address is how to measure the performance of the library that would showcase its business case to city hall, donors and staff. She has decided to use the Balanced Score Card to measure the performance of the library. In order to be successful, she has to devise a broad spectrum of metrics that can showcase how the organization has been utilizing its resources to provide the best possible services to its customers. In implementing the Balanced Score Card it important to analyze metrics that have a strong correlation to the organization’s goals and objectives and the constraints that are placed on it due to its line of business and how it generates revenue. The Balanced Score Card that Ann Becker has come up with seems to have a lot more metrics that she can tackle at once, while some of the metrics are very loosely correlated to the “London Public Library’s Value Promise” that has been developed and endorsed by the senior staff of the organization. 3. Analysis
An appropriate analysis of the situation facing Anne Becker will include recommendation on how to revamp her initial version of the Balanced Score Card and what metric should she focus on next. Customer Perspective
Customer perspective examines how well our library is performing from the viewpoint of the people who utilize its services. “No. of in person visits to library” is not a strong metrics as not all customers access the library services by physically visiting. Neither does “No. of visits to the website” give us any concrete information as to the popularity of the services offered by the library. The metrics in customer perspective should be very closely tied to Exhibit 2, showing how its services are targeted to The Seekers, The How-To-Ers, The Enjoyers, The Browsers, The Isolated, The Community Builders and The Builders. The “No. of borrowed items” helps to gauge the interest of The Browsers so and be able to know the popularity of the materials in the library and it they are in line with what het customers are looking for. The “Number of use of E-Database” will allow us to gauge the interest of The Seekers and The How-To-Ers. We will also know if we have a diverse subscription to databases that are of interest to the customer base. The “Number of wireless users” can help us measure the technology capabilities of the library and see how we are attracting the people who come to the library to relax and explore. The “Number of Cardholder Renewal Rate” addresses the core of all metrics and can solely be used to measure how the customers are satisfied with the library services, products and capabilities. The “Ratio of Donors/Members” can also show how the organization is performing in the eyes of the customers. A satisfied customer is highly likely to donate to the library and a higher ratio shows that we have the ability to turn more members into donors. Internal Process Perspective
Internal process perspective evaluates the internal operating processes that are critical to success. For our organization, the evaluation of the operating effectiveness and the efficiency of the internal wheels of the library while offering various services to the community measure the alignment of our internal processes. The objectives for the internal process perspective are increasing service efficiency, service effectiveness and external communications quality and correlate to strong indicators are needed to measure these objectives. “Number of Holds” is used to measure activity of materials moving in the system. This metric has no relation to library’s efficiency hence; this indicator is weak in measuring the objective. In this case, we should use “Customer Request Turnaround Time” to measure the employees’ service efficiency in handling hold request made by the customers. “Number of programs”, “Number of program attendees”, “Attendees per program” are used to measure the capability of the library to offer a broad base of programs to the community. “Number of programs” is a good indicator to measure our ability to offer a large number of diverse programs. “Attendees per program” assesses the popularity of different types of programs currently being offered, which can help us identify whether the services we are offering is appealing to the customer.
However, “Number of program attendees” is a weak indicator, since it variation could have very diverse reasons and none point to the quality and popularity of the programs. Since our objective to evaluate how popular our programs are with the community, along with providing enough programs efficiently to keep the community engaged and enthralled we should concentrate on “Number of programs” and “Attendees per program” metrics. “Number of new registrations” is used to measure the effectiveness of the library’s external communications such as advertising and marketing in order to attract more customers. It effectively measures our market penetration of our organization’s directly speaks to the aptitude of our marketing department. Since each new registrant has to actually make a physical trip into the library and in essence has had a chance to take a look around and see what the library is to offer. “Project completion” and “Partnership development” are used to measure innovation effectiveness. However, the number of projects completed and partnerships forged cannot directly reflect how efficiently the internal wheels of our organization are functioning. “IT Excellent Aggregate”, “Facility Excellence Aggregate”, “External Communication Aggregate”, “Outreach Activities Aggregate” are weak indicators, since they can’t be easily quantified – a key requirement for the Balanced Score Card approach. Learning and Growth Perspective
The learning and growth perspective aims to induce renewed energy into the employees of the organization. It is a means of getting the employees involved into some the decision making process, by allowing them to participate in programs of interest and bring forward new ideas. The objective of this aspect is to recruit, develop and retain productive and highly qualified staff. There are three sources of enablers for learning and growth: employee, information systems and organizational alignment. We analyzed the indicators based on the existing Balanced Score Card and give the following advice. Since the employees of the organization are unionized and we are aware that the average tenure is long with most employees having served the organization over a long period of time, “Turnover rate” is not a strong metric. Neither is “Percentage of working employees who use Intranet daily” since in this information age most employees would use technology to address customer issues and make the organization more efficient. The indicators that would help the most would be “Employee job satisfaction”. This single indicator would help gauge the feedback of the employees. Since this feedback is anonymous it will provide a more accurate picture of the organization from the employees’ perspective and help to initiate programs that would address some of the employees’ dissatisfaction. We would like the employees to be more involved with helping our organization move forward, hence we would like to encourage them to submit “Bright ideas” and we should track this metric to gauge how passionate the staff feels about the organization. Financial Perspective
Since the London Public Library is a public sector organization it has limited revenue generation opportunities. Its core operating funds come from municipal public funding and a small provincial grant. With limited revenue generation and funding avenues it is imperative that the organization control cost while providing the best level of service. Hence, at the core of the financial perspective on the Balanced Score Card she should be focusing on expenses. Having this information on her fingertips will help her in improvising techniques to decrease costs. Her financial perspective should also have any new investments that she has made in the library to improve or provide new services/products. These metrics could help her cause in asking for more funding from the government and other private donors. She can group all sources of revenue in one metric as generating revue is not a core business objective but it is important to know these figures to fund individual projects and initiatives appropriately. It is also important to point out that the library has a diverse customer base, with each customer extracting different types of services from the library. With such a diverse customer base it is not wise to use a metric such as operating cost per customer since each customer leaves a different cost footprint on the library. Using such a metric could skew the management’s decision making process.
Our revised recommended Balanced Score Card is shown in Exhibit 1. Based on the data provided in the metrics Anne Becker should concentrate on improving the organization’s technology infrastructure, focus on market penetration and customer traction and get more employees involved by reinvigorate their passion towards the library. She already has the Wireless Project in the pipeline and she should make sure it completes on time. Since the usage of library computers is on the decline she should move these computers to branches that have a sizeable senior and unemployed population in the vicinity. This would free up space in some branches to run other programs, while branches with computers could start programs targeted towards improving computer skills for the unemployed and provide some computer literary courses to seniors helping them to connect to the younger generation. She should also implement some improvements in how the customers access the library services from the website such as placing holds and browsing E-databases and catalogs. In order to attract a larger customer base it is important to know what they are asking for. She should setup a dedicated marketing group that should conduct surveys and hold focus groups to understand their needs and requirements. She should try to get direct feedback from the customers and advertise whenever the library acquires new collection. She should also advertise the services offered by the library to schools and encourage students to seek the library’s help in completing assignments and conducting research.
To attract young students to the world of reading, she could start reading clubs and sessions to inject a sense of learning in them. These young children would ultimately become longtime customer of the library. It is just not enough to make sure each student has a library card – she has to make these students step in the library and utilize the services. Since our employees are in direct communication with the customers, they are our best assets in providing direct feedback about what the visitors to the library are saying. She should leverage this to her advantage and seek meaningful ideas and initiatives from them and should quickly turn them into results. She should let the idea flow from the bottom up.
The strategic plan based on the balanced scorecard is a good performance management approach. Through this process, it is easier to gain specific and measurable objectives from different perspectives and help achieve the goal of the library. However, the 2006 balanced scorecard given is not appropriate for implementation. With the modified score card she would be able to accomplish two tasks, showcase the accomplishments of the library to its beneficiaries guaranteeing future funding for project when needed while also placing the organization on the tracks of a strong and measureable growth.
No. of borrowed items
Aggregate number of items borrowed from the library
Number of use of E-Database
Aggregate number of E-Database accessed
Number of wireless users
Aggregate number of wireless users
Number of Cardholder Renewal Rate
Card renewal rate
Ratio of Donors/Members
Number of donors per member
Internal Process Perspective
Customer request turnaround time
Time it takes for the library to respond to a customer hold or other request
Customer request turnaround time
Number of programs offered by the library
Attendees per program
Average number of attendees per program
Number of new registrations
Total number of new registrant for the whole year
Learning and Growth Perspective
Employee job satisfaction
Measure the overall anonymous feedback the employees gives
Employees providing new ideas and concepts for further improvement Financial Perspective
Revenue from Fund Development, Grants, Fine and Rental
Expenditures on digital contents and database subscriptions
Salaries & Wages for staff along with employee
Aggregate overhead costs
Cost to train employees to improve their skills
Overall Cost/Overall Revenue
Any investments made in the year to provide new services, products and contents (book and subscription)
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