Category Archives: planning

Productivity Do’s and Don’ts

There has always been some difficulty around how to define productivity. I recently came productivity graph to illustrate productivity do's and don'tsacross an interesting post called ‘Uncasting the Spell of Productivity’ by Jessica Lawrence.  She suggests we have gotten away from the original definition of productivity – being as efficient as possible in a set period of time, to – a productive person is one who never stops working. You can tell from that where she is in her life. I suspect a lot of people are there especially in this age of super connectivity. Jessica recommends stripping away anything excessive and unnecessary. That sounds suspiciously like applying a ‘Lean’ methodology to me, casting yourself in the role of the customer and eliminating anything that doesn’t provide you with value. Interesting.

In that same post Jessica offered a link to a short video (1 minute 35 seconds) on ‘lost time’ and how to take advantage of it. The video makes sense but I would suggest you take it one step further and actually plan for the ‘lost time’.  I had a meeting with someone the other day and due to circumstances beyond their control they were late. Because I plan for this kind of thing I had my notebook with me and I did some planning for a course I am giving next month on becoming an entrepreneur. It wasn’t just having the notebook but having the plan of what to do that made the difference.

Are you hindering your employee productivity? I came across this list of 5 Management practices that kill employee productivity and felt it was worth posting here. Some of these things I have talked about before such as ignoring top performers (see What are You Rewarding Employees For?) and ineffective meetings (see Meetings; Good, Bad, or Just a waste of time?) but I encourage you to check out the other 3 to see if you are contributing to the problem. Till next time I will leave you with my definition of Productivity:

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/.

Advertisements

The Power of Planning

A couple of years ago I was at a presentation by the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA). These are the guys that do the major projects in Alberta. At that time skilled workers were still scarce although things were getting better. The COAA was taking a serious look at productivity as they were forecasting the number of workers that would be required as they looked into the future. They believed that planning, specifically workface planning could increase tool time by as much as 25%. Workface planning is having the right people in the right place at the right time with the right tools and materials. I don’t believe there is any extra cost associated with that. Imagine the savings in time and labour costs and that is something that can be applied to more than just construction.

There was an article online on Engineering News-Record in June of 2011 that dealt with this same issue. The article referred to a study that showed that prep work and time on task was rarely over 50% for the skilled workers in a typical day. The workers were actually asked what the issue was and things like no forklift to move material, no clear direction or unclear plans or specifications, and looking for tools were among the replies.

Does that apply to your workplace as well? Do you always have the right tools or clear direction (from management or customers) on what needs to be done? And if not does the job then take more time than necessary to complete?

How important is planning? When you can increase your productivity by up to 25% I would say it is very important. So why don’t we do it? I think it’s as simple as we don’t want to pay people when they are doing nothing! For the most part you can’t see someone planning. If they are just sitting there thinking, in our get it done society, they aren’t really doing anything and if they aren’t doing anything there is no value in that. It has been my experience that we apply that to ourselves as well so next time you are just sitting there planning understand that is just as important as the doing.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/.