– How to improve it
business people agree that increasing productivity is a good thing if it
can be done in a cost-effective manner.
Alan Greenspan has attributed much of the great economic
expansion over the past 10 years to productivity increases.
you can increase productivity in your organization you must know how to
define it. Simply,
productivity is the output per unit of input.
Input is generally defined as a full time employee or even down
to the man-hour level. Output
depends on your business and can be “# widgets produced” if you are
a manufacturer or can be “# new home insurance policies” if a
service provider. The first
step is to define the output measures for your company.
These measures can be company-wide (revenue), for a particular
function (# sales calls made), for a particular person (# of accounts
payable vouchers processed), or some combination.
The goal is to increase the number of ‘whatever’ with the
same or fewer people.
agree that computer and factory automation has largely been responsible
for productivity increases to-date. Now being affordable, hardware and software systems have been
implemented to aid even the smallest business.
People can keep track of customer requests, customer orders,
customer history, vendor contracts, purchase orders, and on and on much
more easily and more accurately than anytime in history.
That brings us to the hard part…
how do you increase productivity from here? Beachwood Systems has
assisted hundreds of businesses with automation and has gained a few
insights that you may find useful.
1) Get your people working together.
In order to do this effectively, you must have common platforms
and common repositories of data. Far
too often we have seen spreadsheet after spreadsheet as well as personal
Access databases that virtually duplicate what is in a company’s ERP
system simply because employees do not know the capabilities of their
systems. 2) Use your system
the way it was meant to be used. Management
must instill the attitude that it is the end results that matter and be
open to changing specific processes to better match a systems’
functionality. 3) Use the business model that propelled the Japanese economy
to number three in the world… make small improvements every day.
What do you find yourself doing that takes a lot of time?
Is there a way to automate it? 4) Document your procedures and
standardize. It is amazing
how clear processes become after you get them on paper and how you can
combine and standardize what was previously believed to be very unique
processes. The toughest
part is to learn how to document exceptions and to develop a process to
formally change a procedure.
Smart business people will continue to seek to improve
productivity through selective technology.
Please call us if you have some ideas you are considering.