Saturday, 7 November 2015

Free online tool to help measure productivity

By Marissa Lee, The Straits Times, 4 Nov 2015

There is endless talk about productivity and how to raise it. Yet, many firms still do not understand it, hence a new initiative from the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

It has launched a free online productivity calculator that helps employers diagnose where their inefficiencies lie.

By keying in simple financial data such as a company's labour costs and operating profit, bosses can get a score based on 10 key productivity measures, and see how the company ranks against its peers.

"It's a call to action," said SBF chief operating officer Victor Tay, referring to the new Holistic Industry Productivity Scorecard (HIPS). "A lot of businesses do not know how productive they are, especially with respect to the industry average."

After obtaining their quick scorecards, bosses can enrol in a one-to-one diagnostic programme with productivity consultants to identify the sources of inefficiency and find solutions.

SBF is working with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to roll out the consultation programme. More details will be announced at the Singapore Productivity Conference tomorrow.

The scorecard's database can benchmark companies across 12 sectors using a moving average for each sector, based on data from 7,227 companies, big and small.

SBF hopes to grow this database to 30,000 firms by 2020.

"The benefits derived from productivity go beyond the companies and are passed on to our consumers," said Mr David Hsiao, general manager of semiconductor testing firm Ardentec Singapore. "With such information, we can also set a measurable target for us to work towards."

Mentorship programme to help get firms in Singapore on the productivity track
SMEs to get expert advice, training to boost productivity
By Jeremy Koh, The Straits Times, 6 Nov 2015

Companies can now get help to raise productivity, thanks to a mentorship programme unveiled yesterday.

The programme involves industry advisers guiding companies on identifying areas where output can be improved and training selected employees to initiate projects.

The Workforce Development Agency, which developed the Mentorship for Accelerating Productivity (MAP) programme with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), has set aside over $1 million to train up to 300 employees from 60 companies.

SBF chief executive Ho Meng Kit said access to expert advice on productivity improvement will be valuable to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"For SMEs, this kind of dedicated help and knowledge from outside the company would be very useful because they don't have it in-house," added Mr Ho.

He noted that firms could lift productivity by focusing on improving employee engagement.

"There have been many surveys by human resource agencies on where we lie in terms of employee engagement compared with other jurisdictions, I don't think we score particularly well," he said.

"In addition to the conversation about productivity around innovation, around technology, around process improvement, (we need) to shift it to the softer issue of culture. If managers and management and employees don't have trust and engagement... you can have the best technology, the best photocopier and whatever, it will (still) not work."

Mr Sam Chee Wah, general manager at Feinmetall Singapore, a company which provides hardware to test semiconductor products, said he hopes the programme can diagnose areas where productivity can be raised in his firm.

Mr Sam also wants help to improve the use of manpower and execution of deliveries.

The programme was announced by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Manpower, at the SBF-organised Singapore Productivity Conference and Exhibition 2015.

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