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WSJ Productivity

Productivity – Where have you gone?

Shame on you Americans for going backwards in productivity. We are experiencing the longest regression in productivity since the late 1970s.  The hours that Americans are working are increasing faster than products and services delivered. The fixes, increase the volume of output or decrease the number of workers producing the output. In the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) world you don’t produce more or less output than the customers asking for. If your product or service is in demand and you are hiring because of that demand then possibly you have spent more money than you need to since with increased efficiency, the current employees could have done the job.

If management is waiting for the next big innovation, what is happening in the meantime? Does management expect improvement every day?  No change means no improvement. No improvement means loss of competitive position. If this goes on indefinitely, well, the answer is self-evident.

Lean Business has two suggestions to help you get back on track and make sure this never happens again. Kaizen or Continuous Improvement and LSS.  Suggestion Number One: investigate Kaizen ( ).  Business productivity should just get better and better over time. Suggestion Number Two: look into LSS.  LSS drives efficiency into all sorts of businesses by removing what LSS refers to as Waste. Waste is activity, processes, actions, time or anything else that is in a Value Stream* that does not contribute value to the customer. If you do not have view of your Value Stream it becomes very difficult to improve it. Consider moving managers over business silos into positions where they manage a Value Stream.

Kaizen will grow and grow, involve all employees on the same mission, and continuously improve productivity.  LSS will drive up efficiency and educate employees to recognize and eradicate waste.

Start your productivity improvement plan now.

* A Value Stream provides a holistic view from initial customer contact to product or service delivery. The Value Stream looks at every step of the way. This gives you a view into efficiency of performance.

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