Working SMARTER not harder

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Measuring productivity & adding value, by working SMARTER not harder!

Suddenly, led by the Chancellor we’re all talking in the UK about productivity, particularly in the SME’s and Brittelstand middle ranking companies. These are really vital to our growth and export potential so crucially important to the country’s finances and well being.  We significantly lag the USA, Germany and France on productivity as a nation even though we seem to work lots of hours…

in my engineering and manufacturing experience of factories around the world, my view is that we spend lots of time finger pointing but we don’t in the UK actually make many concrete changes that stick; when that happens I call it the change ratchet. It’s solid change, a new higher level of performance, but it doesn’t happen by chance.. It’s working SMARTER not harder. It takes a bit of thought, study and analysis that’s all!

A secondary point if I may. If there were a measure of lost time due to pointless politics, moaning about the state of the M6 and irrelevant gossip at work in UK businesses, I think we’d be right up there with the world’s best (worst?)!

Getting to the crux of the issue for me is how do you work with your teams to measure productivity in your business and strip it down to its OUTPUT for a unit of INPUT (time or money). Once measurements are in place it can be simply determined whether the trajectory is trending positively or negatively. In a factory it’s measured as value adding uptime (as opposed to downtime: breakdowns, waiting for materials, absence of labour etc). But what about a design office or in a creative environment? Or a Council office? More tricky…but still comes down to how quickly the product or service is increasing in value or worth to the CUSTOMER/CLIENT, hence the distinction between value adding and non value adding processes.

Once there is a measure understood and routinely in use then you segment out with a Pareto analysis the non value adds and attack them with problem solving techniques  ‘Quick Win’ style. Clearly it’s worth attacking the biggest part of the problem first and start to get a positive culture and winning momentum.

But you don’t win anything if you don’t measure it in the first place!

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