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Topic How to Avoid Quantifying Productivity by Time

How to Avoid Quantifying Productivity by Time

Home Forums General Forums Implementation How to Avoid Quantifying Productivity by Time

This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Strayer 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #572905 Reply


    I am on a project whereby we are revamping a productivity and efficiency model that is currently based on minutes/hours; how many tasks or codes were completed per person in a given day based on predetermined time study of how long each task took to complete.

    The objective now is to scrap that model and build one focused on the whole of an activity, not the pieces and parts. Example, if I were building a structure, the current model takes into effect how many nails I used, how many times I swung the hammer and how much time it took for me to get nails out of the box, time it took to adjust my hand on the hammer, etc.

    The new model is to look at how many nails I used and did I end up with a box at the end of the day – eliminating all the time, though critical to making the box, is time that is tied to an action that supports the end result. Tracking the little pieces is cumbersome and we shouldn’t be tracking time that is meaningless.

    Does anyone have thoughts on how to logically track?

    #572949 Reply

    @drheath03 – generically, productivity is a measure of how much of an output you get per some amount of scarce input. Usually, that is time, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, in cutting parts from a sheet of steel, productivity can be how many parts you are able to get from a sheet. As you identify one of your items is nails. You could evaluate productivity as to how many acceptable products you created per qty of nails.

    Do you have a specific issue/question?

    #573274 Reply

    Thank you for responding and helping me with this effort.

    That makes sense and may be the way we are approaching this. We are thinking about having the business segment manager identify and prioritize the “product” outcome and rate them accordingly.

    For example, the original sheet of metal is the whole, what is left over after cutting all right parts are “non product” pieces that shouldn’t be counted negatively against the right pieces.

    Thank you!

    #573372 Reply

    @drheath03 – those “non-product” left overs SHOULD be counted negatively. The objective is to increase the productivity of the sheet of steel. If you could nest perfectly and have zero left over, that would be 100% productivity for the sheet. So what is not put into productive use needs to be counted against the process.

    #575982 Reply


    For me, like all process challenges, it starts with what you trying to achieve. If the objective is to reduce overall time to complete the construction, then ‘true’ SS and lean methods would have you look at times and efficiencies. I guess starting with Overall task time, and breaking down into those areas where you have identified some opportunity to reduce time, eliminate waste and identify necessary but NVA steps. Root cause analysis etc etc etc.

    So you really need to decide what it is you are trying to achieve If its Productivity or Cost, then you can essentially ignore time, as you correctly suggest. Measuring and focussing on it will take you away from what you want to achieve (and measuring time for each step can be tedious, and especially if you have to MSA each different measurement process).

    Productivity can be any rate you want which can explain where your process/task is and be used to measure against, set goals and show trends (although trends are over time…):

    Nails /Box,
    Boxes/ Nail,
    Boxes/ sheet of raw material,
    Sheets of raw material / box,
    People / box,
    box/ person,
    etc etc

    It all depends why you want measure the process/task, what’s the objective.

    Also be careful of ignoring time altogether in your new model. Waste can creep into a process or task where there is no eye on overall time. Its easy to be really careful not to bend a nail and achieve a good ‘nails/ box’ rate if you have all the time in the world.

    #577762 Reply

    Don’t forget to work with the project champion. It sounds like you’re not sure what metrics to use and this is a key part BEFORE launching a project.

    My two cents.

    #577836 Reply


    the state or quality of producing something, especially crops.
    “the long-term productivity of land”

    the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.
    “workers have boosted productivity by 30 percent”

    the rate of production of new biomass by an individual, population, or community; the fertility or capacity of a given habitat or area.
    “nutrient-rich waters with high productivity”

    How does any one/any group decide they want to measure productivity and not measure time. I can understand someone saying I want a more effective way to measure productivity or something like that. When you just flat out create a constraint that you will not include time it makes no sense except you are trying to draw attention to yourself.

    I am not sure I am following the logic or the lack of logic to this string. You need to be tied to some reference measurement unless you want to produce a number that means absolutely nothing. Let’s use the number of parts per sheet of metal. Are you going to have a standard size sheet of metal? Of course you are because the size of the sheet makes the metric relevant. If I report that I am now making 10 parts per sheet instead of 9 what does that mean? One extra part of course but if I have to collect the off all (the part left over after stamping – yes people already measure it) and melt it down and cast a smaller sheet so I can stamp an additional part then it means nothing. It also means nothing if it takes me 3 minutes to stamp 9 parts and 30 minutes to stamp 10.

    This whole idea of dropping time and thinking you are measuring productivity is a pretty inane conversation. It feels a lot more like someone trying to get some article written about them in Fast Company than someone who is concerned about the profitability of a company.

    Just my opinion

    #578008 Reply

    @Mike-Carnell – good to see you back. Hope all is well with you.

    #581083 Reply

    MBBinWI Not great right now. A little eye surgery and the doctor put me on time out for about 10 days. No travel.

    This was one of those questions that even though I can only use one eye it aggravated me so bad I still had to answer it. This just smacks of “we want to be avant agrde so we decided that we don’t want to tie productivity to time – no particular reason – but we aren’t creative enough to figure it out and don’t want to admit it is a really dumb idea”

    I am venting again. My apologies. We need to speak about some business. Let me know what is a good time.


    #581617 Reply

    What we really care about is minimizing waste. You may have heard this. We can do it faster, cheaper, or better. Pick two. If it’s faster and cheaper it won’t be better. If it’s faster and better it won’t be cheaper. If it’s cheaper and better it won’t be faster. Lean tells us these are spurious choices. If it’s less wasteful it will be faster, cheaper, and better. So your productivity metrics should include and correlate all three.

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