Improving Productivity

Productivity Tools for Employees

Written by Andrew Goldman for Gaebler Ventures

If your employees do not have the proper tools to complete their jobs, quality and productivity will suffer. A small investment in the appropriate tools can lead to major savings.

How well your employees work and their level of productivity can be directly related to the tools they have to complete their jobs.

Productivity Tools for Employees

This varies from industry to industry and company to company, but in general you want to make sure that your employees have the right tools to do their job. If they do not, it's going to take longer to complete their tasks and quality may suffer as well.

When an assembly line is created, either in the manufacturing or service industry, a great deal of attention is paid to the equipment on the line. The reason being, equipment is usually expensive and companies want to make sure they are utilizing them properly. This could be ovens in a restaurant or a bottling machine in production.

The second piece to the puzzle is where the employees are placed and their job function. Don't let the process stop here; make sure the employees completing their job tasks have the correct tools to best perform their jobs. It can have major effects on quality, productivity and job satisfaction.

I consulted for a company that baked cookies. Some of their cookies were hand drizzled with icing. The employees used a spoon to drizzle icing onto the cookies. This was an extremely laborious process with plenty of room for improvement.

Clearly, a spoon was not the best tool for this job. Sure enough, in a baking magazine we found an icing drizzler at an inexpensive price. The result was vastly superior productivity, the employees were happy that we were thinking about them and the amount of defective cookies was decreased significantly.

Another example is a company that boxed and shipped product to distributors and retailers. The shipper had one small table, so boxes and product was often stacked up on the floor. By purchasing a racking system and an additional table, the shipper was much more organized and could operate much more efficiently. In addition, the employee was elated that the company took measures to improve his working environment.

One of the best ways to identify an area of improvement is to speak directly with employees on the front line. They can tell you what is difficult about their job and what they feel can improve. They may even have an idea for how to improve the situation.

You want to make sure that you or your managers are speaking with employees at all levels and are constantly seeking to improve operations.

Without the right tools, employees can painstakingly make it through their day. Jobs take longer than they should, defects are increased and the job can be tough on the employee. By making a solid effort to get your employees the right tools, you'll be increasing quality, productivity and employee job satisfaction. With improvements like that, there's no excuse not to hunt for new and improved tools to aid your operation.

Andrew Goldman is an Isenberg School of Management MBA student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has extensive experience working with small businesses on a consulting basis.

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