No company can afford a low productivity level, since lack of productivity results to loss of money. Much of the productivity improvement efforts the last decade, have focused on the company’s human capital. The early stages included downsizing, reengineering jobs, increasing computer usage, and forcing employees to work harder and longer. Although these approaches have been useful for some companies, new ideas for productivity improvements have arisen:
· Outsourcing: meaning to contract with someone else to perform activities previously done by the company employees. This method is increasingly popular among manufacturing companies, that can produce a higher volume of products much cheaper when using external labor force, i.e. Asian workers in their home country
· Making workers more efficient with capital equipment: meaning get employees to know and exploit better the full potential of the company’s equipment. Sometimes, this requires money for training or mentoring, but the ROI in the long run is high
· Using equipment instead of workers for certain jobs: jobs that are physically difficult, or require extreme precision, are done better and faster by machines than by workers
· Improve internal processes and policies: replace outmoded processes, methods and rules that create bureaucracy and affect the speed of communication and cooperation
· Redesigning the work: some jobs or part of the work can be redesigned to make it faster, easier, and even more rewarding to employees. When such decisions are made, the employees’ feedback is very helpful
The above are general guidelines for increasing productivity. Not all of them apply to all kinds of companies. You should select the ones that fit your company type and size.