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It's important for today's organizations to be productive and further use this productivity as an effective tool to beat competition. Business is where things change in the blink of an eye. Today's right strategy may not be right tomorrow, i.e., it may become obsolete in a short span of time. So the adage, "old is gold", does not hold true at least in business. But, in this fast moving business environment where nothing is static, one thing that has remained constant is the goal of the organization, i.e., profit-making, irrespective of its nature and size. The performance of the organization has been traditionally linked to profitability in one way or other. Profitability means gain, advantage, improvement or that output which results from the employment of capital, which is usually expressed or interpreted in financial terms. Jason Jennings (Jason), a California-based management consultant and the author of the best seller, Less is More: How Great Companies use Productivity as a Competitive Tool in Business, defines profitability as the simple act of increasing the output while maintaining or decreasing the input. Jason further cites an example to explain the meaning of productivity. According to him, if McDonald's can figure out a way to serve an extra 25 customers an hour (output) without having to increase the staff (input), they'll have increased productivity. Now, if the definition is so simple and straight, then why are we making a fuss over productivity? As a matter of fact, productivity is not as simple as it sounds; that's why only a few names feature in the list of productive companies, which have been successful in retaining this magical word with them on a constant basis. The competitive edge The old days when businesses used to run on mediocricity and laid down sticky traditional rules are gone. Today, it has become vital for an organization's long-term stability, survival and growth to understand the true cost of doing business and the sources of profit. Productivity plays the role of a sheet anchor for today's companies by giving them the much needed edge in the market. Most productive companies, however, take a slightly different path from the usual runof-the-mill approach, focusing on the overall productivity aspects of their businesses, rather than merely looking at profitability in terms of financial statements. There is an old saying: "Smart people don't do different things, rather they do the same things differently." This is very much applicable in the case of the most productive companies. They take different routes to achieve the same goal, and it is the selection of these different routes/paths by these companies, which brings a lot of difference to the end result. The first thing which differentiates a productive company from a non-productive one is the company's ability to understand the true meaning of strategy and tactics. According to Jason, it is this realization that enables these companies to stay more focused on their goal.
Bureaucracy in any sense and form is always a bad sign for the firms. In productive companies. which negatively affects its production. a major steel producing company of the US. continuous improvement and a dedication to becoming more efficient day by day. Disney. Other major firms which collapsed due to lack of focus are: Arthur Anderson. many corporate leaders today lack this attention to focus. Jason opines. a Swedish furniture superstore chain. Wal-Mart." There are companies like Gillette. Openness to the company's goal or mission helps in achieving the purpose more easily. for the quality of their suggestions can improve the firm's productivity. It is this power of simple and clear objective which made Ikea. P&G. It is the employees who have to perform. Nucor. and Xerox. Focus is vital for profit maximization. is a way of life. Kmart. the goals to be achieved by a particular group of people are kept very simple and easy to understand. achieve 50% more profit per employee. went bankrupt due to its management's inability to focus on its core competencies. Microsoft. This is what made SRC holdings. It is this openness which made Yellow Freight. Productive companies are always willing to change their strategies and tactics according to the changing needs and demands of the customers. as it complicates and paralyzes the organization. Moreover. to name a few. it is this openness towards its employees which made Nucor. to name a few. goals and expectations from its employees. Enron. post 15% growth each year. Bajaj and Maruti. if they are confused and not clear of what exactly they have to do. a diversified manufacturing holding company. and thus the business as a whole. irrespective of the slow growth rate in the industry. For them. its future will be short-lived. It is only when a company manages to get its employees focused towards a particular goal that it can think of obtaining more with less. 3M. Hero Honda. The organization should be transparent with its ideas. These companies have learnt to be highly . one of the most efficient steel producers in the world for decades. which have mastered the art of change and innovation. they will not be able to give their 100% to the job. Infosys. WorldCom. GE. So. Managing your employees is an important aspect in increasing productivity. One need not be amused by this idea. However. the US retailer. bureaucracy too follows. that too. the world leader in transportation services. in the low-margin discount furniture business. on many different counts. Dell. One should encourage suggestions from the bottom line of the workforce. It has been observed that in many companies when revenues go up. Change is inevitable and that is applicable here also. "Unless a company is constantly creating new offerings to solve a customer's problem. 1 retail. It is the power of this simplicity which enabled the New Zealandbased warehouse chain of discount stores to score over the world's No. Wipro. Any organization which complicates its business by concentrating on needless issues tends to lose its focus and purpose in the market.There are several companies which put themselves into trouble by mixing their strategies and tactics together. Complexity usually crushes the flexibility of the firm and this further becomes a hindrance to change. Openness can go a long way in improving productivity and the most productive companies have this distinct competitive advantage from their rivals. Gillette also achieved the tag of the most innovative company in the world because of its approach to offer the customers innovative products. there is no place for bureaucracy in productive companies.
" It has been observed that many companies follow their financial statements to judge how profitable they are. . Focusing on these will automatically bring revenues for firms. employees are the most valuable assets and they are treated with dignity. the first thing to go is every executive's perk and bonus. Jason list's some points which every company that wish to achieve its full economic potential must do. "When business is bad. "Lay-offs are a management fad used by untalented CEOs and managing directors. According to Dan DiMico. It is the power of innovation which helped Rasna to hold approximately 93% market share in the concentrated soft drink segment of the country despite the fact that it has stiff competition from big players like Coca-Cola. taking calculated risks and making things happen rather than waiting for things to happen. Conclusion Most productive companies focus on the customers to retain them and further to be productive. It's true that they don't do different things rather they do things differently. which has brought in a new chapter in aviation. but we never lay-off people. It reduced its production time of producing a ton of steel from 11 hours to 30 minutes. A productive company has a "No Lay-off" tag attached to it. as it's bound to be in a highly cyclical industry like ours. Only then are the workers affected. All productive firms mentioned here have achieved the top slots not merely by fluke but by their strong willpower. the innovative attitude not only helped Ujala challenge the market leader. For such companies. hard work. Revlon. instead of focusing on the customers and the day-to-day running of the business. productive companies never face the need to lay-off people. Air Deccan is able to provide the lowest fares and still remain viable in this highly pricecompetitive Indian aviation industry. It is the sheer power to change and the ability to think out-ofthe-box that led to the emergence of Air Deccan. Make certain that everyone within the organization-from the CEO down to the last employee-is constantly interfacing with customers. but also create its own identity in the liquid whitener market. etc. In true sense. followed by every plant manager and supervisors giving up theirs. dedication. There are companies like Coca-Cola. A productive company follows a method of continuous improvement all the time. which lost their market share because they failed to innovate at the right time or they resisted change. It pays its employees much higher than the average industry standards. The list includes: Have a 'cause' that unites everyone in the company in pursuit of a common objective. LIC.. According to Jason. because they know better ways of dealing with a crisis than just firing people. They have in them the ability and the guts to think of how they can change the traditional ways of doing things. Running after financial statements will lead companies nowhere. Hindustan Lever and Kraft Foods." A perfect example here is of Nucor. Further. Robin Blue." Nucor has been following these guidelines since its inception. Jason further adds. we'll reduce the workweek to five days and then four and on some rare occasions even three. Nike.productive from their initial days. Nucor's CEO. "Lay-offs destroy a company's ability to be more productive. The company has never laid-off an employee in its history.
. But in this overcrowded business world the only option left for firms is to become as productive as they can. Becoming productive is a difficult task and difficult still is sustaining the position. Brilliant companies offer solutions to their customers. they don't sell stuff. work and process. Strive relentlessly to eliminate wasted effort.
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