Thursday, 28 August 2008

Totally unproductive

As from tomorrow, I shall be on vacation. No laptop, no handheld ... well, just a phone. I intend to be completely unproductive ... apart from recharging my personal battery ready for the next few months of mayhem!

(Ever thought that at times organisations need to recharge also ... just stop the new initiatives and consolidate performance and productivity gains into standard operating procedures and practises. Go on, give your organisation a holiday ... you know it makes sense.)

Saturday, 23 August 2008

It is not often governments talk about Total Factor Productivity but here is a recent example ...

The Malaysian government urged the Food and Beverage industry to emphasise the enhancement of Total Factor Productivity (TFP).

This is to enable the industry to be more efficient in the light of escalating costs, said the the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan.

"Improvements in TFP reflects skills enhancement, better organisation and management systems, technology advancement and improvement in methods of production as well as a shift towards higher value added processes," he said in his opening address to a business forum entitled, "F&B Industry - Crisis Looming".

"The adoption of good manufacturing practices such as TQM, Six Sigma, Kaizen, Quality Environment, Productivity Management, Lean Management, Benchmarking and Supply Chain Management would enable manufacturers to remain competitive," he said.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Statistics Canada recently reported a 30% decline in multi-factor productivity growth (MFPG) in 2006 as compared to the USA. Lower MFPG explains 92% of the Canada–US productivity gap between 2000 and 2006.

Andrew Milivojevich of was quoted as saying ... “In Canada, the dominant source of productivity growth is investment in equipment and structures. In the US, the dominant source is in MFPG; a measure of technological progress and organizational change. This signals a shift in productivity thinking favouring the US.”

Now, I might be a but stupid but doesn't "investment in equipment" broadly equate to "technological progress"; and doesn't "structures" broadly equate to "organizational change". so isn't what's being said simply "The US is growing faster than Canada".

Now, if we only knew the real reason, we might understand the difference.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

How connected are you?

Productivity - at national level - is facilitated by a number of infrastructure elements .. one of which is telecommunications. Nokia-Siemens have just published the results of a 'connectivity scorecard' exercise (created by Prof Leonard Waverman, of London Business School) which compares 25 countries in terms of their degree of connectedness.

The UK comes out fairly well - 5th of the 25 countries with a score of 6.13 against the USA's 6.97... and 1,07 for Nigeria.

See for more information.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Still a way to go

People often ask whether productivity can always be improved or whether after a number of initiatives, a plateau is reached. The following reminds us that because the environment changes, the situation changes, the technology available changes, etc.... there is always room for improvement.

President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil of India has suggested that it is vital that India keeps agriculture at the centre stage of the nation’s development agenda and constantly enhances crop productivity. She said: ‘We must enhance productivity on a constant basis and bring about a second Green Revolution which, along with agro-biotechnology, can translate into an ever-Green Revolution in India…. the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has already taken the initiative to establish one of the world’s largest and well organized gene bank of crop genetic resources. Agricultural growth would also depend upon technological inputs relating to water management systems, better seeds and farming practices. I am sure the institutes in the ICAR, the universities and the industry will be able to join hands to develop new technologies in these areas. The research system should intensify linkages with the public and private extension systems at all levels, particularly at the district and lower levels where the actual uptake and impact is seen.’

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Its not the technology!

Robert Atkinson, the President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, believes Europe can boost its productivity through more widespread use of ICT. To achieve this, ICT will have to be put "at the centre of its economic policies for trade, technology, competition, the labour market and regulation," he says.

Atkinson outlines the areas where Europe is actually ahead of the United States in the application of ICT, including the broadband, banking, smart card and healthcare sectors. Yet he laments the fact that Europe has still not reaped the "same level of benefits" from ICT as the US has.

He gives two reasons for this: European companies generally invest less in ICT than their US counterparts and perhaps most tellingly …"they appear to make less 're-engineering' changes".

So, as you and I already knew … ICT is not the answer … but using ICT as a ‘trojan horse’ to re-engineer business processes might be!