The Myth of Productivity Cost Savings

We’re well into the NCAA’s March Madness and according to the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, the first week of this year’s tournament will cost firms $1.8 BILLION in “unproductive wages.”  Really? Call me a non-believer, but I don’t buy it.  CEO John Challenger refutes my disbelief by saying, “Those who insist there will be no impact are kidding themselves. It might be a slight drop in output or it could be slow Internet connections as bandwidth is sapped by employees watching streaming feeds of the games.”

I have not looked at the details of the study, for instance to see if they factored in the increases in productivity at the local watering holes, and I’m not saying there is no impact, but to make such a claim is akin to fear mongering.  Do we really think that companies lost $1.8 billion in revenue last weekend solely due to the NCAA tournament?  This is where the great myth of productivity cost savings lies. Continue reading

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The Continuous Non-Continuous Improvement Cycle

Introduction

Continuous Improvement is something virtually every organization wants to achieve. Whether it’s called continuous improvement, process improvement, performance improvement, re-engineering, Lean, Six Sigma, Lean Sigma, or some other name, the objective remains the same – develop a program or system of ongoing improvement.

Organizations approach this objective in many different ways. Initially,most start with external consultants using Continuous Improvement tools in isolated areas on specific problems. Impressed with the results and wanting those results to cascade throughout the organization, many decide to bring the expertise in-house. The importance of understanding what this means and the impact this has on the organization cannot be underestimated – unless senior management truly understands the principles of Continuous Improvement, the organization risks falling into “The Continuous Non-Continuous Improvement Cycle.” Continue reading