Tag: Measures

A National ‘Balanced Scorecard’

All nations – governments and their electorates – need a National Balanced SCorecard (NBSC) of performance measures – a set of cardinals they each can monitor which covers all important factors affecting their standard of living (SoL) and quality of lives (QoL) The  NBSC would be a mix of measures – some absolute, some subjective …

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GDP – Flaws

At present, GDP is universally taken to be not just a measure of national output but also shorthand for national well-being Richard Tomkin, assistant director of the ONS (Office for National Statistics), which collects all the base data, says: “GDP is used as an all-encompassing proxy for people’s living standards although never designed for this” …

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Aggregation hides info needed

Current measures of productivity become less and less useful the higher the level they go: Aggregation increasingly blurs the performance picture Apples get mixed with pears Specific inputs used for specific outputs and outcomes get lost in the mix At national level, this aggregation problem is at its worst, compounded by much output and most …

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Work hard or work well?

Many say the secret for a good life is ‘work hard and play hard’ Leila Hock, in an article for Career Contessa, disagrees – ‘work hard’ apparently “makes my eyes roll a little” She believes we’ve become too preoccupied with “the grind” and it’s actually bringing us down – “It has a negative effect on …

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Financial cardinals needed

Of the many financial measures available, only three qualify as financial cardinals – the ones whose alarm bells must ring to prompt action in good time They are total revenue, total cost and profitability They’re ‘catch-all’ measures covering all outputs, outcomes and inputs: Total revenue covers net outputs sold and outcomes the customers took into …

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Misleading research metrics

In an article entitled ‘Capitalism is ruining science’, Meagan Day (for www.jacobinmag.com) points out that universities existed before capitalism and pursued not profit but truth and knowledge But no longer The modern university has become increasingly subservient to the imperatives of capitalism i.e. competition, profit maximisation and increasing labour productivity In academia, this manifests itself as …

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US views on employee performance measures

A sample of US managers’ views was recently published on performance measures they use In essence, they said: ‘App overload’ constantly disrupts work flows – they’re meant to streamline productivity and communications but do the opposite – most employees want a single platform for phone calls, chats, email and team messaging – so get rid …

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NZ shows way for public sector productivity

The New Zealand Productivity Commission was asked by its Government to provide guidance and recommendations on measuring and improving productivity in public services, especially education, health, justice and social welfare which play an important role in promoting individual and community well-being The Commission interviewed multiple current and former senior state sector leaders, carried out case studies to …

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National knowledge Indices

Developed economies are now ‘knowledge economies’ Knowledge has become the most valued input resource on which national growth depends – it’s needed for such as: Entrepreneurship Innovation, R&D Product, process and software design That said, a World Bank report claims that most nations fail to realise the knowledge they have available to them and so the …

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Current measures have huge gaps

Most managers, whether at task, process or organisation level, lack the comprehensive set of performance measures they need to cover all their KRAs (Key Result Areas) In effect, they’re flying blind Current coverage is estimated to be as follows: 90% – Financial results – in particular, Revenue, Costs, Profits – at board level, they might …

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National happiness beats GDP hands down

Economist Ed Conway claims in The Times that “GDP is actually pretty good at measuring the total amount of income generated in Britain” His main point is that: Every politician from right to left obsesses about income above all other measures of progress Yet income comes surprisingly far down the list of what really matters …

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Much innovation not reflected in statistics

Susan Athey, ex Microsoft and now Expedia and winner of a prestigious medal for being the best US technology economist, was interviewed by journalist Ana Fuentes The following are extracts from her article: Q. Global growth, now running at 3.5%, might be a lot higher if we took into account the whole contribution from digitalisation …

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NZ Productivity Commission slams their public sector

A new NZPC (New Zealand Productivity Commission) report slams parts of their public sector for inefficiency It says the private sector measures its productivity but the public sector falls short despite $40 billion being spent every year on such as health, education, justice, law and order and social welfare “The New Zealand government has been …

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GDP – Alternative measures

ALTERNATIVE 1 – GVA: One alternative to GDP for measuring the state of an overall economy is GVA – Gross Value Added GVA claims to measure the contribution of each individual producer, industry or sector GVA = Output value – Intermediate consumption (too complex for most) Other definitions include: The value of the amount of goods …

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GDP – National output

According to Professor Diane Coyle and economist Benjamin Mitra-Kahn in a paper entitled ‘Making the future count’, an entry and eventual winner of the Indigo prize: Economic statistics (i.e. state data) originated with governments wanting to raise taxes to wage wars i.e. wanting to know the availability of resources Then, in the early 20th century, …

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Forget GDP growth?

Jacinda Arden, new Prime Minister of New Zealand and, at 37, the world’s youngest female leader, recently claimed that free markets are a ‘blatant failure’ In future, economic performance should not be measured by GDP growth and unemployment but by whether people’s lives ‘offered enjoyment and meaning’ “We need to make sure we are looking …

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GDP anew – Indigo Prize

The INDIGO PRIZE is awarded for the best answers to: “How would you design a new economic measure for global economies that fully acknowledges not only social and economic factors but the impact of creativity, entrepreneurship and digital skills? How should your new measure be used to improve the way we measure GDP in official statistics?” …

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Measure what you need, not what you can

Performance measures are needed by all managers, in public as well as private sectors, to steer them towards taking the right action in the right places at the right time They should answer such big questions as: Is my team/ unit on course or not – if not, how far off – are we standing …

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Why chase productivity improvement?

1. Productivity improvement (PI) at national level has the following aims: To improve the standard of living (SoL) of all in the land, mostly by producing more and better material goods and services at more affordable prices whilst using fewer limited and so costly resources To increase the number, quality and rewards of jobs for …

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Tesco’s ‘Steering Wheel’

The blunt truth, according to Terry Leahy in an article he penned for The Times, is that if public services were exposed to more competition, their performance would improve He strongly believes in competition after spending 33 years at Tesco during which time it rose from being a bit of a joke to the third …

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Pareto at large

If GDP measures are to be believed, some 80% of global GDP is generated by less than 20% of the global population At global level, the top 20% of economies would appear to have productivity levels at least three to four times better than the rest, the other 80% – and this gap is widening …

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Human targets are best

In his book ‘Happiness’, Richard Layard points out that: ” People care most about their income relative to that of other people” i.e. more than the total itself He says most people would even be willing to accept a significant fall in their living standards as long as they could move up compared to other …

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Can PLG plug a big productivity gap?

Whilst investment, innovation, competition and luck all play a significant part in the performance of any organisation, public as well as private, it is its management that has the most influence The same applies at national level with government ministers And if managers and ministers, whatever their level, are to do their jobs well they …

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Why only labour productivity?

Why do we measure just labour productivity when it’s the productivity of all costly input resources used together that matters most: Because we always have done – it was relatively easy to count in the old manufacturing days? Because if you produce more per worker, there’s more to share out to each worker – which …

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If productivity so vital, why not measured?

Capita surveyed 250 managers and 250 workers across a range of UK industries including retail, logistics and construction They found a ‘huge disconnect’ between the number of managers who feel productivity is important and those who actually measure it Key findings were: Only 32% of bosses feel their business is very productive yet 71% do not …

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Political parties’ productivity plans

Productivity is the biggest peacetime issue facing all UK political parties Annual improvements are vital if living standards and average earnings are to be raised – so what did their recent manifestos say about it? Conservative party manifesto – essentially ‘to grow the national wealth pie’: Introduce a National Productivity Investment Fund – spend £23 …

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National productivity positions built on sand

I read an article about Chinese productivity posted by Bloomberg journalist Michael Schuman and sent him the following email: Michael, I read your article about Chinese productivity with great interest The first step in any major productivity improvement drive is indeed to establish the current position – where are you now? Most ‘expert’ commentators try to do …

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Vanguard lead way for big improvements

Productivity is the most important peacetime issue facing any nation or organisation – therefore, one would expect all governments and major business schools, management organisations and consultancies to focus on it  Not so For example: The UK has no well-known, well-supported productivity ‘centre of excellence’ e.g. a UK Productivity Centre – HMG might occasionally set …

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Pareto analyses

Pareto, a 19th century Italian economist, spotted that “80% of effects arise from only 20% of possible causes” – apply this rule to national productivity levels and just the top quintile of companies determine whether improvements are made – and it has been ever thus In other words, the great majority of companies are doing …

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The capitalist’s dilemma

N.B. The following are extracts from an article published in the Harvard Business Review in June, 2014 – it remains highly relevant today Professor Clayton Christensen and Derek van Bever of Harvard Business School  have embarked on a fascinating study into what may be holding back growth in the USA and elsewhere given ‘corporations are …

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Wolf explains UK productivity gap

The great financial journalist Martin Wolf of the FT recently opined about the current state of UK productivity – disappointingly, his words offered no new insights and were simply a regurgitation of current groupthink. He kicked off with the now well-worn cliche from Paul Krugman about productivity being ‘almost everything’ – and then trotted out a …

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Basic steps to big improvements

There are various acronyms on offer for how to go about improvement projects viz: PDCA from TQM – Plan, Do, Check, Amend DMAIC from Six Sigma – Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control SREDIM from Work Study – Setup, Record, Examine, Develop, Implement, Maintain   All boil down to much the same process Managers, whatever their level and …

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Why do national productivity gaps persist?

Philip Hammond, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, is forever saying: “It takes a German worker four days to produce what a UK worker makes in five” Others say much the same about French workers But such claims are not new, they’ve been made over the last 30 years at least We already know the ONS …

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Low Australia productivity affects all, not just a few

New Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, says boosting productivity is essential if Australia is to maintain the living standards it has enjoyed in recent years He warns: “Australia’s remarkable boom times are over and the best way to maintain our standard of living is to have a laser-like focus on productivity”. In his first appearance before …

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It’s the rest, not the best, that’s the problem

The Brooking Institute’s Martin Neil Baily and Nicholas Montalbano considered the causes of the current global productivity puzzle recently “The most promising sign for future growth is that the most productive firms are growing faster than the rest – the frontier is still moving out – but the diffusion of best practices is not pulling the …

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Broad action needed post Brexit

In the Guardian, Katie Allen recommended ways Prime Minister Theresa May could ‘lift the UK economy’s post-Brexit’ blues – via: Tax cuts – especially VAT More infrastructure spending – traffic jams and delivery delays waste a huge amount of time, adding to unit costs and reducing national productivity Encouraging huge increases in housebuilding across the nation, …

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Wage levels versus Productivity

President John F. Kennedy believed that “a rising tide lifts all boats” but many question if that remains true today in the business world They point to data showing that productivity has risen sharply since the end of WW2 whilst wages have stagnated and conclude that productivity-driven economic growth does not necessarily benefit USA workers …

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