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Aug 09

U.S. Productivity Slipped, Is Your Business Improving?

Posted by: Steve Marr

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the productivity rate fell during the second quarter of 2011 from .3% in the United States. Simply put, productivity measures the amount of output per hour worked. In any business, increased productivity is a good thing, while a drop is a bad thing.

Businesses gain productivity not just by cracking the whip and getting people to work harder. True productivity gains are based on investment in new equipment that makes workers more productive. The computer revolution is an excellent example, we can do so much more each day.

Improved productivity can also spring from improved work procedures and investment in training.

Each business is based on how productive we, and what our staff produce. We need to understand if our productivity is improving, or slipping.

I was asked by a Mary Kay salesperson for some thoughts on growing the business. One idea was to measure the hours committed each week to the business.  Then divide the weekly sales number by the hours worked to understand the total sales per hour worked.  The salesperson could then see what efforts improved the sales productivity, and those that did not.

Often, we believe we need to make masterstrokes, those changes that give us large gains in our business. However, often, smaller, steps, taken day by day are the true improvement we need. Moses told the people, “And the Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly…” (Deuteronomy 7:22 NASB).

Our business may be sales, manufacturing or service. We must understand our productivity and determine if that productivity is improving, or worsening. Our future is dependent on improving productivity.

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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