Friday, 31 August 2007

Too old - and not enough

Like much of the developed world, Japan is facing a demographic downturn - with a falling population, due to a falling birthrate, and an ageing population. The answer - says the Japanese government in its annual economic report - has to be higher labour productivity.

Simple solution - difficult implementation!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Who gets the good jobs?

In Canada, a multi-disciplinary project (a collaborative effort involving university researchers, industry and the federal and provincial governments) is exploring best management strategies to improve the productivity and environmental sustainability of grassland pasture systems.

The work is being coordinated by the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Livestock and the Environment on a section of land located just southeast of La Broquerie, Manitoba. The researchers are evaluating the effect of swine manure fertilizer on hay and pasture yields and quality, the impact on the productivity of the cattle that consume the forage, and several environmental sustainability considerations including nutrient loading and movement, pathogen movement and greenhouse gases.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Protect Me!

French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently uttered a surprising statement …. “The word 'protection' is no longer taboo." For the last 50 years the West has signed up to the concept of free trade – and the efficiency and productivity that comes with it. This is what has fuelled Western economies and well-being. Ironically as the West gets more cautious and more protectionist, the East is gaining free trade momentum.

Is the attitude of Western politicians a response to a wider range of aspirations amongst the public ... or is the West is just getting frightened of the competition to come.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Innovation - and Productivity

The European Patent Office (EPO), the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) have published an independent study which benchmarks productivity in the patent grant procedure at the three offices. The purpose is to identify best practice in the patent search and examination procedures with a view to enabling each office to adapt its own practice in the interests of streamlining and efficiency. The study clearly identifies disparities in productivity between the EPO and the two national offices, although some of the differences are largely due to varying procedures. The report is available here...

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Canada needs productive travel

Commuters could help reduce Canada's productivity gap with the United States by spending some of their daily commuting time on productive work, according to a survey by Intel Canada. The average American works 164 more hours per year than the average Canadian worker, yet still manages to work less than the average 40 hours per week, the survey found. Not surprisingly (for a company that power many of the world's laptops), Intel's report suggests that Canadian workers could narrow that productivity gap by using a laptop while in transit or by using an alternative to commuting. 12% of Canadian workers use public transportation for work, the survey said, and about half of mass transit users spend about 240 hours per year travelling to and from the workplace. However, only 11% of organizations help workers maximize their commuting time by providing them with access to a laptop or enabling commuting alternatives.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Big Boys Play Tough

The Korean Automobile Industry has developed tremendously over the last 10 years and is now globally competitive . BUT from recent reports ... it appears to be losing its competitive edge ... and this is how it made its mark and its progress. Wages are rising but productivity is falling ... and quality is not yet at the levels of Japanese - and even the better European - production.

Customers will accept (slightly) inferior quality for a lower price ... but if you can't compete on price, you have to compete on quality ... and on other issues such as design, reliability, etc.

So to the Korean Automotive Industry we say ... "Welcome to the real world. As one of the big boys you now have to grow up and sustain your competitiveness through improved productivity AND quality".