Are KPIs Really That Important?


Most industries, including pig farming, talk a lot about KPIs – Key Performance Indicators.  It is a common business belief that KPIs are critical to measuring performance whether it be P/S/Y, Mortality, ADG or F:E.  In short, these outcomes help ensure our input costs are being best used to make the business profitable. KPIs become of particular importance when a business cycle is on a downward trend. 

While attending a recent state Pork Congress in the U.S., a pork production manager told me his production system was losing about US$8.00 per head as we discussed how a Crystal Spring Wet/Dry feeder could help his KPIs, particularly his Feed Efficiency.

He’s been using a different style of feeder for over 25 years of pork production—suffering all those years with poor feed efficiency. But because his feed costs weren’t particularly high due to abundance and ease of access of grain, he wasn’t overly concerned about it so he just didn’t take the time to figure out how to improve his F:E. Now that he’s losing that much money for every pig he raised, he’s looking for ways to lower his input costs.

I remember my father explaining to me when I was a boy that wasting food wasn’t a problem until you didn’t have anything to eat or that having water to drink wasn’t a problem until you were thirsty but didn’t have anything to drink.

The lesson he was teaching me was that just because you had something in abundance didn’t mean you shouldn’t consider how you may be wasting it.

I think this lesson also applies to KPIs. Abundancy, whether it be feedstuffs, water, or any other resource we use in raising pigs isn’t a problem until it becomes scarce, costly, and makes it hard to be profitable. Then you are forced to start really looking at how you can improve your KPIs. 

I’ve come across several pig farmers as I’ve traveled around the world that don’t just measure their KPIs but are looking to make improvements in their production system, no matter how small, that have positive impacts on their profitability, even when times are good.

This is very important for a company like Crystal Spring Hog Equipment as it challenges us not to settle with “being the most profitable feeder in the industry” but to look for ways to better improve its performance. Whether it be making innovative changes like our patented EZ-Adjust™ feed adjustment system or making improvements in how to manage the feeder with our published Wet/Dry Feeder Management Guides, we are looking for ways to help pig farmers squeeze just a few more dollars in improvement in their KPIs. With that attitude, you can turn a $8.00 loss per head into $8.00 profit per head. 

So, “Yes”, KPIs are really that important—not only when things are tough but also when things are going great.

Want to know more about how Crystal Spring solutions can help your production system become more profitable or to receive a copy of one of our Wet/Dry Feeder Management Guides? Contact one of our Crystal Spring Experts by visiting our website at or email us at