My experience and success in turning a business around to be totally efficient and to ensure people and asset utilisation is at 100% is to first obtain the employees explicit understanding of and commitment to the idea that productivity improvement is mutually beneficial.

I placed paramount importance on best practice industrial engineering where standards were established for every operation be it direct or indirect for both costing of product/process and output measurement.

It was also crucial that all work was planned to flow where each operation was levelled to eliminate waiting times.

Productivity through efficiency is actually a measure, and not a reality, and is only an indication of the current state of operations and the combined efforts of employees and management working closely together and having a unity of understanding of the benefits to the company if it is continually improved.

There are many ways to measure output efficiencies which I believe must be done on a daily basis. In fact I did efficiency/output measurements on an hourly basis. Particularly within the machine based environment where output can be undertaken by both management and employee together. It can be done on a machine stroke basis or purely output as established by the industrial engineer through standard time measurement.

The bottom line of a business is determined by the efficiencies achieved. Optimising output will maximise profit.

My measurement process for a business is what I classified as my ‘Vital Signs’. These are the indices which determine whether the company is best practice or just best endeavoured.

Any business which is aiming to pride themselves on best practice through the involvement of all employees will need to have the ethos of output measurement firmly entrenched in their strategic intent.

Manufacturing in Australia can still be world competitive providing the culture of accountability through performance measurement, efficiency controls and continuous improvement is adopted.

I have been privileged to have viewed first hand both national and international best practice organisations. As such I can attest to the opportunities for Australian manufacturers if they get these very basics right.