Welcome to Productivity Knowhow

For managers at all levels who are interested in

making big productivity improvements

  • Our focus is on measuring the right things and then finding practical ways to close performance gaps using approaches which have been proven to work well

  • Productivity improvement is a complex subject embracing most management disciplines and affecting all organisations, large and small, in all sectors, public and private

  • Sadly, too many managers believe productivity was relevant to the shop floor in the manufacturing sector alone, not all levels in all sectors, especially services which now dominate ‘developed economies’

  • The upside of widespread productivity improvement is a vast increase in national economic growth rates and standards of living, mostly achieved by reducing unit costs of goods and services enabling many more people to afford them, thereby increasing profits and so pay levels

  • The latter creates even more demand for different and/or better goods and services so economies, standards of living and quality of lives are further improved

  • With such benefits, ‘how to improve productivity’ has become the most important peace-time issue facing any manager or government minister – at least in ‘non-pandemic times’

  • ‘Productivity Knowhow’ Revisited BookThis website offers extracts from the 21 sections of our latest book on productivity – Productivity Knowhow Revisited’ – plus articles posted weekly which address issues raised in them see the right-hand column on this page for a list of them all

  • Together, this website’s pages, the book and the weekly posts target managers on the front-line who are keen to make big productivity improvements but lack the productivity knowhow

  • Their overall aim is to simplify the complex, increase managers’ understanding of how to improve productivity and enable them to take effective action – to the benefit of all

Latest Posts

‘Chat GPT 4.0’ reveals how any nation can improve productivity

With all the hullabaloo surrounding the launch of the latest version of Chat GPT I thought I’d check what this potential panacea for many human problems thought about the biggest peacetime issue facing us all – how to continuously improve productivity and so our standard of living Not wishing to be greedy, I limited my …

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Whither ‘Employee Suggestion Schemes’?

It was good to read Harry Wallop’s article in The Times entitled ‘Workers are better placed than bosses to improve productivity’ He cited a person working at the Ministry of Defence saying: “If management would listen to me, we could improve antiquated processes and procedures” Harry followed this up by noting that: “Some companies run …

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Productivity optimism

Readers will know we try to simplify the complex subject of productivity improvement at organisation, national and global levels They also know we are concerned that so many of our leaders (e.g. politicians, economists, academics, think-tanks) base much of their wisdom on productivity measurements which they know are flawed but use them for lack of …

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Worker happiness – Hitachi gets it

Most current productivity measures are relics from the old days of manufacturing – comparisons of physical output volumes with labour inputs, either hours or FTEs (Full-Time Equivalents) Manufacturing once comprised some 80% of G7 economies and labour (hands) the majority of its costs so outputs and inputs were relatively easy to measure and, together, provided …

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Profit Share for a Productivity Rise

How do we boost productivity? Give workers a piece of the action   Following is an article published in the ‘Fort Frances Times’ by Frank Stronach , founder of Magna International Inc., one of Canada’s largest global companies. He makes a powerful, intuitively obvious, argument for giving all employees in any organisation a significant share …

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The NHS’s productivity conundrum

The UK spring budget announced a further £3.4bn for new technology to support an NHS ‘productivity plan’ – however, new technology is no productivity panacea on its own – it usually takes considerable time and a lot of staff training before any new major technology can make a big difference – and the NHS needs …

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A productivity ‘cocked hat’!

As the Nobel prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman once said: “We fixate on anything that can be measured, even badly, and ignore the obvious elsewhere” – Copernicus suffered from such attitudes – the ‘Flat Earth Society’ existed because of them ‘Productivity growth’ has become the holy grail for most developed and developing nations: It determines an …

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“AI could replace almost all forms of labour”!

Sundar Pichal, CEO of Google believes AI will have a more profound impact on humanity than fire, electricity and the internet – it will fundamentally change how we live our lives, and will transform health care, education and manufacturing – and make humans much more productive McKinsey say there’s little doubt that AI can help …

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Meetings are a productivity killer

According to a study reported in Fortune.com by Byjane Thier: “3 in every 4 meetings are totally ineffective – they really should have been just email”. 5,000 knowledge workers across four continents took part in a recent survey by Australian software giant Atlassian and the vast consensus among those respondents was that nothing wastes more of their …

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A 32 hour workweek – When?

Readers will know we’ve been banging on about employees needing to work less hours per week yet produce more outputs and better outcomes – and be rewarded better. Indeed, way back in 1930, the world’s most important economist, John Maynard Keynes, predicted that within 100 years most people would be working no more than 15 …

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“Not another” public sector productivity drive!

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO – National Audit Office – recently highlighted ‘profligate waste‘ found in the UK public sector – for example, he cited: Procurement – A third of contracts worth some £100bn are not subject to competitive tendering Infrastructure projects – Billions have been wasted on HS2 and building 40 new hospitals …

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Faulty Economic Forecasts!

Ryan Bourne, an economics professor at the esteemed Cato Institute, announced in The Times that he believes “Britain is paying a heavy price for faulty economic forecasts” Indeed, much the same could be said about many forecasts on offer in many different walks of life – few understand how such forecasts are produced but, when …

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