The paper aims to examine the impact of the Workplace Challenge (WPC) Programme within the National Productivity Institute (NPI), which is a supply‐side initiative of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) and established to meet the competitive challenges presented by South Africa's re‐entry into the global market. It aims to encourage government, business and labour to participate in a consultative process, to improve the performance of local industry. Disparities exist between the variables that are being measured under the dimensions of Quality, Speed, Cost and Morale at all levels (i.e. cluster, region and national), and as such, the results cannot be aggregated together to determine an overall impact. The common measures will assist with providing valid and reliable reporting to the DTI.
Ten companies were randomly selected out of a total population of about 120 companies participating in the WPC for interviews and discussions about the topic.
It became evident during data collection that most companies do not align the green area measurements with the overall business objectives. A better way to integrate WPC impact into the company strategies is needed to present a cohesive picture all the time. The research indicated that the broad WPC objectives exists in terms of increased employee and customer satisfaction could be achieved. Employee satisfaction is achieved by: improved management decision making (effectiveness), because WPC change management process encourages consultation of the floor workers; involvement and consultation in turn leads to improved motivation/morale of the workers. Customer satisfaction is achieved by: improved product efficiency results in good quality benefits, and improved process efficiency results in good delivery and lower costs
The outcome of this research will be used to provide a clear and practical guideline for implementation of properly designed performance measurements in order to report productivity improvement resulting from the WPC programme. By doing this, we are also assisting the companies to assess the true benefits of joining the programme. The author's view is that, this rule of thumb should be followed when reporting on the measures: the goal must be to strive for adequate but valid measures instead of highly accurate but invalid measures.
The research focuses only on the NPI's WPC Programme. The key strategies for best operating practice will be used as the reference for determining world‐class performance. The research does not assess the role of the organisational leadership and the company strategies, nor take the duration of companies on the WPC Programme into account.
This is the first opportunity in the WPC to investigate the uniform measures that would indicate the impact of the programme on the participating companies reliably. In the author's view, this research paper provides the platform and a guide for an informed dialogue on elevating the issues to a common level, describing the real constraints, the factors that must be considered when determining common performance measures and a sensible approach to a complex topic.
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