Thursday, November 17, 2011

1.4% versus 2.2% anually adds up

 The Conference Board or Canada lays it out pretty clearly, Canada is getting left behind when it comes to improving productivity.
Ottawa-based research firm used a simulation boosting Canadian labour productivity growth by 0.8% per year higher from 1988 to 2008, the same increase as the difference between annual labour productivity growth in the US (2.2%) and Canada (1.4%) over the 20-year period.  The Conference Board notes that since the 1980s, Canada’s performance has been sluggish in multi-factor productivity (or innovation) and capital intensity, while labour quality has been relatively stable.  Previous Conference Board research found that Canada’s relatively well-educated workforce does not have the physical capital required to maximize productivity performance. 
What to do about it?  The report blames "physical capital", they mean equipment, machinery, computers, software and the like.  This is part of the answer, but is not the right answer.  Here in Canada and especially in Alberta productivity is not talked about enough. And when it is talked about there is not enough understanding about what it means and what to do about it.
I come from the UK, Lean manufacturing awareness is so much deeper than here in Canada.  Most regional colleges do a basic diploma in 5S and lean.  To quantify the difference, if you Google 5S training, Google Canada gives 54,000 results while Google UK gives 471,000 results.  A difference of 10:1 for a population difference of 2:1.  We simply do not have the awareness in Canada especially here in Western Canada about what drives productivity and what can be done about it.  Alberta Productivity is doing a great job of raising awareness.  Sadly if reports like this continue to come out and point the finger in the wrong direction it will only reinforce current misunderstanding and the opportunities that Lean offer companies will continue to be missed.

To read the report in its completeness, Canada’s Lagging Productivity: What If We Had Matched the U.S. Performance.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Klaus - The First Day At Work

Edited highlights of the soon-to-be-classic-if-it-isn't-already German Health and Safety video. Our hapless star is Klaus the fork lift driver on his first day at work in the warehouse. He's clearly unaware of the basics of Health and Safety, taking lethal gambles with a Stanley knife and some sheet metal, and getting too easily distracted. Enjoy!

For the full version dubbed in English
For the full version with the original German
Serous message awesomely communicated.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A lesson in communicating from Domino's Pizza!

This may appear very trivial, Domino's Pizza have introduced a pizza tracker.  It is not world shattering but it is a very good demonstration of how important communication is.  Monitoring the tracker you have some idea of when your delivery will arrive.  

Now compare that to a work situation.  How much information do you have on when parts will be available from a supplier or a design completed by engineering?  We are continually chasing information.  Here Domino's have taken away the information chasing part of the job.  What opportunities are there in your work environment to implement simple ideas to save on information chasing?