There are numerous definitions of productivity, and a significant proportion of them are related to a company’s KPI’s in some form or other. If we take manufacturing as an easy example, these can be visualised as kg/hr , £/month or RFT (Right first Time) if we cover the elements of production, sales and quality. All of these have a direct relationship with the bottom line, and the cost of product made. However KPI’s are also important in the “transactional” environment such as the administration arm of a company, or in say financial services. Processing documents can be  a significant proportion of any process, and errors or tardiness will also negatively effect the bottom line.

This is where an experienced coach/business consultant can help. Ones with significant industry experience in different sectors, can start to build connections on where the losses are.  Anybody who is familiar with the “8 Wastes” will know that all the wastes are interconnected, actually  feed each other, and can be self-perpetuating. If you look at these from a different perspective, process waste will not only be a waste in its own right, but will also drive energy losses, effluent losses and  “transactional” or  “paper system” losses.

This is why it is critical to look at all aspects of the business holistically from a perspective of waste reduction. Once we have identified the waste, we can then start to prioritise where we look to minimise the waste, based on R.O.I. With this in place we can start process optimisation using mapping, and appropriate tools.

Once we have reduced the losses we need to sustain the improvements, which is where we start to review and improve the KPI’s. We get back the start, and this is how continuous improvement works. There is nothing magical about “Lean”  it is  just a series of ever developing improvement cycles, Plan,Do, Check, Act and start again. There is no shortage of demand for this approach.

Different Perspectives on Productivity

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