Time is money, but can we use it well? The key to a company's profitability is its productivity, which depends on people. Meanwhile, according to a report for 2017 prepared by VoucherCloud, during an 8-hour working day we work efficiently for 2 hours and 53 minutes at most! The productivity of Polish enterprises is much lower than that of American or Western European companies. Why this is happening and how to change it is suggested by Mikołaj Dramowicz, founder and CEO of datapax - a consulting company specializing in automation and optimization of production and information flow.
Although the last two decades have brought revolutionary changes in labour productivity, the productivity of Polish workers has almost doubled during this time, in this respect, domestic companies still fall significantly short of global standards. It turns out that at the same time Poles produce only 46% of what people employed in the United States produce. Norway (98%) and France (80%) are the most productive in Europe, according to a survey of productivity growth carried out by Conference Board, a labour market analysis firm.
How do we spend our time at work and what do we lose it for? First of all, for activities not related to our professional duties: reading various information, browsing social media, and even... looking for another job. - Assuming only such an explanation, one could consider that the responsibility for inefficient work lies only with the employees, while the phenomenon of low productivity is much more complex - says Mikołaj Dramowicz - founder and CEO of datapax. And he adds: - Low productivity is largely due to imperfect work organisation, underdeveloped or even non-existent procedures and the lack of appropriate tools to verify how well an employee performs his or her tasks and whether he or she is complying with the company's regulations. Identifying the real causes of the problem is the first step to solving it.
Mikołaj Dramowicz draws attention to several important aspects whose analysis may significantly improve the functioning of an enterprise and thus increase its productivity and profitability:
More and more people say that the conditions in which we work have a significant impact on the quality of our work. Therefore, creating a friendly environment that will give the employee a sense of comfort and motivation to better perform their duties is currently one of the strongest trends in designing commercial premises and properties. Companies employ architects who arrange them with a holistic approach to the individual expectations and working style of the company. But productivity is not just about attractive, creative spaces.
It is also important to build a good atmosphere which translates into greater employee involvement. Open relations, cooperation and good communication are the factors that motivate the staff and have a positive impact on the quality of tasks performed. The technologies implemented are increasingly relieving the employees of routine and repetitive activities. They have changed the labour market, where analytical thinking and creativity are really needed today. On the one hand, technology improves communication, but on the other hand, one must be careful not to create barriers. Give people space to meet face-to-face and talk. More and more often at meetings everyone looks into their laptop, which is a denial not only of effective work but also of building relationships.
Modern companies are working with more and more data. Using computers to generate and store them is currently the norm. However, their manual input, creating administrative documentation, printing, scanning, e-mailing - all this can significantly slow down business processes, consuming the company's financial resources. Moreover, the human factor, unfortunately, often means the risk of error. The brain can devote limited cognitive resources to substantive, creative thinking, and stretching the time spent on a given task makes the employee develop bad habits, which affects the most productive hours during the day. Business processes, the automation of which is particularly worth considering are cyclical, monotonous operations, e.g. document flow, downloading data from IT systems, creating Excel reports from them and sending them by e-mail. Imagine a virtual assistant installed on our computer that performs routine tasks for us, giving us more time to solve problems requiring a creative approach.
In production companies, employees walk for miles every day. They move and transport goods on the plant premises between production stands, warehouses, points of delivery of products to customers. They often waste their time just looking for a product or a place to place it. They often follow random routes, overlapping roads. This can be remedied by establishing an optimal transport path, which will allow employees to gain time for other tasks. It is also worth considering the implementation of technological solutions e.g. in the form of unmanned transport.
Production workers spend a lot of time on various types of operations: assembly of elements, creation of semi-finished products, removal from machines, packing, placing on pallets, etc. Clear standards and instructions are often lacking, which unnecessarily lengthens the time needed to perform particular activities and generates the risk of errors, which results in another waste of time and money. Observation of each stage of production allows to identify areas where the organisation of work can be improved, including through the use of modern technological solutions, e.g. different types of robots. Integrated into the production equipment, they can completely replace the physical participation of a human being or a modular one, which will support the employee in operating existing machines. A well identified and improved bottleneck can bring more benefits than the entire change programme.
Equipment failures and overhauls
Defects and machine maintenance are a daily reality for every production plant. Workers waste time waiting for repair, cleaning, start-up. Defective equipment is also the risk of destroying the machines or equipment that process the material at subsequent stages of the production process. Problems can also be eliminated or reduced to a minimum. Often, even a small reaction at an early stage would prevent the hindrance. Modern technological solutions provide tools that control both the condition of machines and the quality of manufactured products. Providing information on this subject automatically and well in advance can significantly reduce the number of failures and line downtimes.
Most often the correctness of the products is still verified in the traditional way - the employees of the quality control department watch individual products or their elements. However, this is not the most effective method. First of all, they have to spend a lot of time on it, secondly, it is easy to overlook, thirdly, even if they can use measuring tools to facilitate their work, they often do not have the possibility to check the whole batch of manufactured products.
Automated quality control systems (dimensions, weights, deficiencies, damages, etc.) allow to check up to 100% of products.
Optimisation is profit
To increase efficiency, many companies decide on dedicated technological solutions. Any repetitive activities such as entering purchase invoices, handling orders, copying data between systems, can be carried out by robots designed to work in the systems. More and more companies are using data analysis and artificial intelligence based on it.
The benefits are visible almost immediately after implementation. First of all, the handling costs associated with the circulation of documents are reduced, which saves our employees' time. On the other hand, the use of automated machines in conditions that are harmful or even only harmful to humans increases safety, has a positive impact on the health of employees, their attendance at work and productivity.
- In every company there are areas that can be optimized. However, this requires analysis and then selection of appropriate solutions. The company's management is necessarily busy keeping an eye on current operations and is not always able to take on this task. Not only time is needed, but also practical knowledge of the methods available on the market to improve productivity is needed. Fortunately, there are more and more of these. Experienced external experts are able to objectively assess the way the company operates, revise existing procedures, suggest the most appropriate solutions both in terms of technology and work organization - sums up Mikołaj Dramowicz from datapax.