Saturday, 28 August 2010

A healthy prescription

The new US healthcare bill reduces Medicare payments for goods and services (other than doctors' bills and drugs) by an amount equal to the annual economy-wide increase in productivity.  The assumption is that the health-care industry can raise productivity by at least as much as the rest of the economy.  Of course the figures show that it has rarely done that in past years.
If it doesn't, is it just 'more inefficient' than other sectors.  Well, of course it is very labour intensive ... and it is 'service-intensive in that it relies on a lot of one-to-one interaction with the customer.

So times will get tough for the sector over the next few years ... unless, of course, there ARE real productivity improvements to be made .. and someone can unlock the secrets that lead to them.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

SMEs are excellent

An SME Manufacturing Excellence (S.M.E.) Programme to groom a pool of “Change Agents” or “TechnoVation Managers” within the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector of Singapore has been launched by Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan.

SMEs employ nearly six out of 10 workers in Singapore and play an important part in the national productivity drive.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector seeking to raise their productivity and capability, received a shot in the arm today with the launch of the new SME Manufacturing Excellence (S.M.E) Programme.

Designed to groom a pool of Process Improvement Champions or “TechnoVation Managers”, the programme aims to train managers in Operations Management Innovation (OMNI). With the knowledge and skills acquired from the programme, managers in the SMEs can help raise productivity, and improve business and operational excellence within their companies.

Developed by A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), the S.M.E. Programme will be offered under the Singapore Workforce Development Agency’s (WDA) Precision Engineering Workforce Skills Qualifications (PE WSQ) framework.

Friday, 13 August 2010

South Africa - could do better

South Africa needs a greater emphasis on productivity and competitiveness to boost economic growth and job creation, the World Bank said recently.

"South Africa's business environment compares favourably to its peer group of upper-middle-income economies globally," lead author of the report Taye Alemu Mengistae told a briefing in Benoni on Johannesburg's East Rand.

However, he called for greater efforts to raise the market share of efficient, high-performing enterprises, enhancing productivity, and increasing export competitiveness for job-led, sustainable economic growth.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Life in the old dog

I saw a flyer for a 'Mobile Voice Conference' the other day (its in January 2011 in California) and thought ... 'How quaint ... still holding conferences on something that's been done and dusted for years'.  After all, can you think of many innovations in the mobile voice arena over the last few years  ... since conference calling became commonplace.
Then I thought a little deeper (yes, superficial thinking is one of my vices) ... if you're in the mobile voice business, you have lots of revenue and it makes sense to explore every avenue that might retain or even increase that revenue.
And we know - don't we - there are ideas' out there' that can still have significant impact on this relatively static area of technology. If I knew what they were, I'd make my fortune.  But I would be prepared to bet that someone will come up with an idea that will amaze us all in both its simplicity and its impact.
Think, John, think!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Terms of payment

Banks in the UK are reporting healthy profits ... they seem to have 'turned the corner'. Bad debts are down. Sounds like good news .. and it is .. in the sense that our fortunes are inextricably linked to those of the banks.

However, what about 'fairness'. There is little doubt that reckless behaviour by bankers, seemingly fuelled by both corporate and personal greed, was a major factor behind the global recession ... a recession which means that you and I - and especially our children - are going to pay for for many years to come. The living - and retirement - standards of millions of people will be worse than they should have been.

Yet the banks - and those same bankers - are now on the up. Profits are rising. Bonuses are rising. I would have liked at least some trace of guilt, humility and regret.