There are a lot of theories around at the moment for solving the productivity puzzle. More funding for investments in technology, more investment in education, tax breaks for research and development or increasing spending on infrastructure. All valid points of course, to be addressed by the Government. The question is what can we do as individuals and businesses for ourselves?
I have been looking back at some of my own previous actions and a familiar theme soon unfolds. Much of what I do is not so much about improving a stable process to become even more efficient and thereby improve productivity, it is about correcting an unstable process to remove inefficiency that has almost become the new and acceptable ‘norm’, and thereby restore productivity closer to the level it may, or should have been originally.
I see this across all business environments; what is celebrated as ‘improvement activity’ is actually just clawing back a part of the costs that have been accruing as processes diverge away from best practice.
Here are a few examples;
1. In one case study the role of the pick wave planner was not clearly defined and this resulted in orders that should have been split across two separate delivery loads being released all at once, leading to bottlenecks in the despatch area and various other knock-on effects.
2. I had a case where the re-picking of ‘empty location’ lines became a Groundhog Day situation because these picks were being repeatedly released without the necessary action being taken to check the stock position.
3. I have seen new management control systems being implemented that provide default reports that are distributed despite the fact that the reports are invalid due to mis-matches in data coding. Managers become frustrated by the inaccuracies and end up mis-trusting all reports.
4. Similarly, I have seen reports where the original, and correct data, has been manipulated before it gets into a departments own excel-based management reporting so that the unaudited but published metric is unrecognisable from the true measure.
5. I have seen many cases where businesses fail to recognise the value in systematic transaction reports. Usually the reports show a shortfall of around 10-15% where time is being lost because management controls are not effective in optimising active time.
Solving our own productivity puzzle is not as difficult as it sounds as many of the issues are hiding in plain sight. Every example of inefficiency in your business results in more resources being allocated; more inputs for the same output means lower productivity and higher cost.
We should all address our collective responsibility for the micro-management of productivity so that the economy is in a better position to benefit from changes at the macro level.
Regain your competitive edge by addressing your own productivity challenges, and contact me directly for advice and support.