Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Productivity Improvement

Productivity improvement is to get the piece of the cheese without being trapped. It is really a challenge, but not impossible. China could do it, why can’t we?
Today’s tough competition requires shorter delivery period, innovative and customizable products, higher quality and performance at much lower cost. We need to improve productivity of our organization to accept the challenge. The Improvement in productivity means a change. The change will be in processes, thinking as well as in policies. ‘Workforce adaptation to new technology’ and ‘resistance to organizational change’ are the biggest hurdles to overcome.
While taking productivity improvement steps, we need to answer three questions
  • Why to improve
  • What to improve & what to improve to
  • How to improve

If we are clear on these basic questions, improvement is easy.
In our daily life, we come across many difficulties or problems which affect our productivity. We tend to look in to the problems in isolation & try to find solutions temporarily. The solutions are ‘compromise’ between two apparently conflicting needs. By working this way, we are just postponing the problem. The problem will re-appear in some other form. We need to eliminate the ‘Root Cause’ of the problem.
Some times we are comfortable with current way of working. We compare with our industry standards and find ourselves in average productivity band. But if we wish to lead the market, or at least sustain in a long run, we must keep our productivity above our industry standards. That means we must be creative enough to do better than others. Theory Of Constraints  Thinking Process (TOC-TP) gives us tools to keep us far above industry standards.
Any system (organization) is made up of many elements like departments or business units. They are connected to each other by some causal relationship. Any integrated system like this always has a few (4 or 5 maximum) leverage points. Performance of the system can be manipulated up to large extent by fine tuning the leverage points like a radio. The real skill is to locate the leverage points & tune them to increase performance of the whole system.  It is not just technological challenge. Paradigm shift is the major hurdle to overcome. TOC-TP provides tools to locate the leverage points & manipulate the system. Many large, medium & small companies are using TOC & improved their performance (for example 70% reduction in inventory etc.)
We have seen management philosophy like Six sigma, Lean, TQM, TPM etc. have improved our performance in the past. But all these methodologies try to improve performance of our system everywhere. That gives results, but with high cost. Our systems are like chains. The weakest link in the chain determines strength of the chain. If you strengthen only the weakest link, the strength of the whole chain increases. TOC-TP focuses on weak links & strengthens the same. You will then apply Six Sigma, Lean, TQM etc only to the weak links & improve performance of your system with less investment.
TOC-TP is the latest management philosophy, which breaks all your paradigms & improves your productivity with very low or nil additional investment.

Santosh Karkhanis
TOCICO Certified Registered TOC Thinking Process Practitioner.