Saturday, 25 October 2008

Porsche accelerates

Workers at Porsche AG are to receive an increased bonus for the year ended July 31st because of productivity gains. Workers will receive a 6,000 Euro payment.

Porsche said ...The management and works council together believe that the workforce's efforts to improve productivity, flexibility and quality deserve to be rewarded/

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Bridging more than continents

I am just returning from Turkey (and blogging this at Munich airport). As you know, Turkey is the bridge between Europe and Asia. This gives it a unique geographical position .... but it gives it more. Turkey has been 'courted' by many European and Asian companies wanting to exploit the 'bridge'. Over the last decade Turkey has used the presence of these companies to take Japanese management and productivity philosophy and re-export it - to Europe - in slightly different forms.

At first it seems odd to see Turkish 'lean practitioners' in Slovakia helping German white goods manufacturers to improve their productivity - but that is what is happening.

The smart always use what is given them to gain an edge ... Turkey is doing this now ... to improve its own industry but also to participate in the development of the 'new Europe'.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The right energy strategy?

The UK government (possibly rightly) is investing in alternative forms of energy production - we have all seen the wind(turbine)farms springing up. However, the real savings in emissions and efficiency are to be made by refining the current big energy producers - oil, gas (and to a much lesser but growing extent) coal- to make them more productive.

If a tenth of the money going into wind turbines was spent on energy-efficiency R&D, we would all save money and the planet would be a better place.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Ethical dilemmas

A number of companies are working on genetic modifications to seeds/plants to improve the productivity of agriculture. Good - the world need to grow more food. Bad - not all the risks are known.

This is not a productivity issue ... it is an ethical issue for society. Should we do it. Not my call. Though I am a passionate advocate of new technology applied appropriately, I have doubts about the wisdom of genetic modification. But I don't want to make the ruling ... I just want an informed debate and then a consensus to emerge. Collectively we can take the risk ... commercially we should not.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Beware of naive benchmarking

India produces only about half as much rice per hectare as China, the world's largest producer, and just about a third less than Vietnam. On the face of it - in benchmarking terms - this look like very poor performance.

However, delve a little further and you realise ... India is a very heterogeneous country, from irrigated to rain-fed areas and rice is also grown in very marginal areas. So the average productivity comes down If you look only at the irrigated areas, the yields are very high compared to any part of the world.

In China, they seem to use significantly more fertilizer, so the high yields are associated with longer-term environmental damage.

Now who has the best (long-term) productivity?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Leaving on a jetplane

I am blogging this from Johannesburg airport as I leave to face the real world once more. I have enjoyed my time in South Africa and especially the people who seem to have a confidence and a joy about them - in spite of the recent political turmoil.

Service is always with a smile ... but not always of the highest standards. This seems to be because systems let the people down - they clearly want to offer good service.

So productivity in SA still has some way to go .. but the evidence is that SA is on the journey and traveling in the right direction. Perhaps the satnav needs monitoring to make sure the vehicle stays on course.