Heap, J. (2015), "News", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 64 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-04-2015-0055Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type:From: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Volume 64, Issue 5.
US SMEs need help
More than 70 per cent of small US businesses have equipment they believe is overdue for replacement. This figure is has risen 4 per cent since last quarter.
These businesses are well aware they have sweated their equipment for too long – they are also well aware of the benefits that would result from bringing new equipment online. Lower maintenance costs are top of their list, followed closely by improved productivity and business growth.
Yet despite the challenges their existing equipment is causing, they don’t have the confidence to shift into investment mode.
Only 28 per cent of small businesses indicated they would acquire new equipment during the June quarter 2015, leaving a gap of 44 per cent that will continue to battle on with unproductive assets.
The above situation is perhaps evidenced by the fact that In the post-war era, US productivity has risen about 2.4 per cent annually. However, productivity has stalled during the last decade. It has averaged only about 1.4 per cent annualised growth since 2004, only 0.8 per cent annually in the last five years, 0.5 per cent average growth since 2010, and it actually “declined” last year by about 0.4 per cent! Many agree that the slowdown is at least partially impacted by a drop in investment spending.
Port berths need resizing
Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou said recently, “We continue to build ships that are bigger and bigger, and if we can’t get the containers off faster, the whole thing will come to a grinding halt”.
He added, “The industry is stuck at 25 to 30 moves per crane, per hour. We haven’t had any breakthrough development that can get that to 40 to 50 moves per hour”.
In its 2014 earnings release, Maersk said, “Since 2007, the time spent in port by our vessels has increased significantly. Port and terminal productivity has not been able to follow suit with the increase in vessel size”.
A big part of the reason is that as ships have grown in capacity, they haven’t gotten longer, which means fewer cranes per volume of cargo can be deployed. “The length of vessels has not increased linearly with their TEU intake”, Drewry analyst Neil Davidson wrote in a March paper. Instead, ships “have gotten wider, deeper and stacked higher. This means that the number of gantry cranes deployed cannot be increased in direct proportion to increased ship sizes”.
All ewe need is …
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) in March announced the Merino Ewe Lifetime Productivity Project. A partnership between AWI and Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA), the project will be a major stimulus to performance recording as it will assess a significant number of animals throughout their productive lifespan.
The Lifetime Productivity Project involves a $3.3 million, nine-year investment from AWI and value-adds to current commercially funded sire evaluation work. It will generate 3,800 ewe progeny from 120 sires over four sites around Australia, evaluating these for up to seven years of age. The ewe progeny will be joined four to five times and assessed for a comprehensive array of fleece, body, and reproduction traits.
Unhealthy employees signal an unhealthy organisation
IBI research, released at the IBI Annual Forum, held earlier this year in San Francisco, found that that employees who had poor perceptions of jobsite safety, respect and trust among staff and managers, job engagement and satisfaction, and overall workload spent more than twice as much time off the job due to chronic pain, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping, among other maladies.
In separate research also presented at the IBI conference, Franklin, Tennessee-based healthcare consultant Healthways Inc. found that a health management strategy that embraces the full scope of an employee’s well-being is more than twice as effective at curbing productivity losses as a wellness programme centred solely on physical health.
UK internet speeds cost productivity
UK workers lose 38 hours a year due to slow internet access, which costs the economy GBP11 billion a year in lost productivity, according to research commissioned by business operator Daisy. The study found that the average worker is unable to complete his or her normal responsibilities for up to 44 minutes a week and 7 per cent said that their internet connection “grinds to a halt” over ten times a week. The research also found that 39 per cent of employees’ home internet connection is “much faster” than at work.
Support for Malawi’s poor
The World Bank has approved US$75 million in continuing support for the Fourth Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF IV) to help reduce poverty levels for about five million poor Malawians by providing work opportunities, cash transfers, and grants to raise household incomes.
The US$75 million financing brings the amount committed to the Strengthening Safety Net Systems Project otherwise called MASAF IV to US$107.8 million. This additional financing provided by the International Development Association (IDA), consists of a US$68.2 million grant and a US$6.8 million credit. The original amount of US$32.8 million was approved by the Board in December 2013, according to World Bank.
“These additional funds will help fill a financing gap to help the Government strengthen its social safety net delivery system to reach the poor with the much needed support to help them take a step further out of poverty”, says Ms Laura Kullenberg, Country Manager for Malawi. She adds that MASAF IV will not only address household poverty but will help create community assets, strengthen the government’s capacity to respond to vulnerability and crisis, and develop a unified registry of beneficiaries to be used by all social protection providers.
Kashmir needs healthy animals
Kashmir’s Minister for Animal Husbandry, Sajad Gani Lone has stressed the need to evolve an effective mechanism to enhance the productivity of the livestock industry.
He said it is imperative that coordinated efforts are put in by the all the stakeholders involved in the healthcare system to pursue the concept of one World One Health for all living beings, an official statement said.
The Minister asked field experts to upgrade their skills and keep themselves well informed with latest techniques in vet sciences.
Where is your job going?
Are machines set to take over the traditional job market? Is the constant investment and development of machine learning and smart technology set to push more people out of the workforce? The data might look like it’s going that way but the answer is far more complex.
Across the world, spending on big data – critical for machine learning – is growing at an annual rate of nearly 30 per cent and is expected to reach US$114 billion in 2018 (ABI Research). This shift is not just undermining obvious jobs in the manufacturing industries but also what many refer to as the “knowledge economy”. Many mundane information processing tasks for jobs such as accountants and lawyers are also fast becoming automated.
It’s for this reason that according to The Economist, the top layer of the labour market will sit with individuals with high abstract reasoning, creativity, and interpersonal skills that are often beyond most peoples’ capabilities.