Tweaking your system can have a huge impact on productivity!

When you examine your business with the eye on increasing productivity, remember that it is seldom necessary to make major changes.  Rather look at what you have, and then find ways in which to streamline it.  The illustration below is an example of a small change that made a huge difference.

In an open groove mine in Johannesburg (South Africa), the production manager was not satisfied with the rate at which ore was brought out of the mine.  He was sure it could be improved on.  Sitting in his beautiful office with a view over the city, he decided that the problem was in the equipment, which was rather dated at the time.  So he ordered new loading equipment and new trucks.  It was a tedious process because of all the red tape in the organization, but a couple of months later the new equipment arrived.

The production manager eagerly awaited a report of increased productivity.  He was surprised and disappointed when he realised that there was no significant increase in productivity with the new machines.

Sitting behind his desk, he decided that the problem surely must be with the operators of these vehicles.  They probably did not know how to operate the new heavy duty machinery.  He then arranged training courses in driving and operating heavy machinery for all his mining staff.  The mining staff enjoyed the break from work, with the accompanying free meals and tea-times during training.  Once back on the job, they tackled their jobs with enthusiasm.

The production manager eagerly awaited a report of increased productivity.  His rage boiled over when the report showed only a slight increase.  He flew out of his comfortable chair, left his plush office, donned a working outfit and visited the mine for himself!

At the open groove mine, the problem was evident immediately.  Because of a rock jotting out on the side of the road in one place, only one vehicle could go either up or down at a time. Traffic going up and traffic going down had to wait for each other at that spot.

The surprised production manager had the rock blasted away immediately, and the traffic started flowing freely.  His next productivity report was very rewarding.  Production had more than tripled.

What “rocks” are preventing you from achieving optimal productivity?

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