Productivity = Technology + Smart People + Innovation + Labour Flexiblity

Achieving increasing productivity is essential to Supply Chain in any organization. To do it in a sustainable way we  must have (to my understanding):

1.- State of the Art Technology

Every operation has to search what tools and technologies available in the market, and choose which are more suitable in any case. ROI (return on investment) rules apply always. It is not about having a fully automated warehouse with a 20 year payback. It is about smart and customized automation. In my opinions is better to start a multiyear journey into higher tech, than a big-bang approach.

2.- Smart people capable of making the most of technology

Quite often organization invest in a new ERP or very automated distribution center or factory (because they see it as on-time investment) but are reluctant to hire and train several engineers or super users to make the most of that investment. I guess the reason is because that is an on-going  cost in the operating budgets.

Clearly is a mistake: Good professional, well-trained and with enough time to  invest in the fine tuning of systems and equipments can really make the difference, and leverage company investment for better returns.

3.- Constant breakthrough Innovation.

Once an operation has the basics, it will be at similar competitive level as it peers. To really have a competitive advantage from operations, you should try really new processes that can create true differentiated product and services. But competitors will do it too. So the race never ends. Those who can develop their innovation at higher speed WIN.

4.- Labour Flexibility.

This is much more than cheap redundancy cost.

It is about possibility to have the right quantity and quality of human resources in each process/activity/department all the time. Some ideas that helps: – High qualification at every level, makes people more polyvalent and can fit were the need is.- Establish good talent management process, where people issues are address right on time, and high potentials early identified.- Mobility (functional and physical), is empowered and supported.

The combination of these 4 elements is the base for consistent higher and higher productivity, for operations, companies, administrations and countries. Easy to say,  more difficult to do.

Antonio

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