Productivity is the simple ratio of output to input – improving productivity means getting the most out for the least put in. It is important to companies, to nations (since it is a major determinant of national competitiveness) and to the world.
Improving productivity is how we increase ‘the size of the cake’: without it, we end up trying to find different ways of slicing and distributing the cake. Improving productivity is the only way in which we can create growth without creating inflation.
Improving productivity is how nations improve the well-being of their citizens. Improving productivity is also how they maintain output levels whilst consuming less of the world’s precious resources. Productivity has economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Productivity, in practice, is a complex phenomenon. High productivity demands an appropriate national infrastructure (supportive macro-economic policy, effective transport and communications links, a legal and regulatory framework that supports and rewards creativity and innovation, etc.) to provide a potential for high productivity organizations.
Those organizations then need to realize that potential.
They do this by designing and implementing effective processes, systems and procedures within a culture of constant and continuous, self-critical review.
High productivity demands effective partnerships and team working. Increasingly, manufacturing companies, for example, work in partnership with their suppliers, and other members of the supply and value chains. Within the organization, new products are developed with productivity designed in at the design stage.
There may be specific “productivity catalysts” (such as industrial engineers who have a particular brief to directly address productivity improvement and who provide productivity leadership) but truly effective working at maximum productivity levels demands commitment from all parts of, and members of, the organization.
Productivity Science aims to tackle the issue of raising productivity as a systematic, hierarchical, methodical process. It incorporates appropriate productivity measurement as a means of both driving and measuring progress; and uses benchmarking as a means of inter-organisational comparison.
Productivity Science recognizes that experimentation is required to better understand the inter-relating factors that impinge on productivity, and to refine and improve approaches to productivity improvement.
There are numerous technologies and tools that can aid the measurement, analysis and improvement of productivity but all demand a systematic, comprehensive approach that recognizes that productivity is multi-dimensional. Though it adopts the scientific method, productivity science recognizes the importance of social and cultural factors in determining productivity levels.
The World Confederation of Productivity Science is dedicated to the promotion and development of the science in the pursuit of value and wealth creation, and ultimately – through the use of that wealth for social good – of lasting peace and prosperity.