Productivity

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What to Expect From a Corporate Lean Program

“Lean” programs help many manufacturers boost productivity. But misplaced expectations of how quickly these programs can improve performance can make their implementation difficult. Better understanding of the rates at which lean programs produce improvements would make implementation go more smoothly — and lead to more increases in productivity. Managers should set targets that are appropriate to specific plants and be careful not to derail progress by using initial gains to lay off workers.

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Own Your Time, Boost Your Productivity

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MIT Sloan’s Robert Pozen has an array of strategies to make work time more productive. In a session on “Maximizing Your Personal Productivity” at MIT Sloan Executive Education, Pozen explained that people often don’t articulate their biggest goals and don’t have the right tools to make them true priorities. “You’re unlikely to achieve your top goals if you haven’t written them down,” said Pozen. “If they’re vague and in your head, you haven’t crystallized things.”

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Can Sensors Fuel Productivity Growth?

The Internet Revolution has so far not produced the kind of long-term productivity growth seen during the Industrial Revolution. Digital technology drove U.S. productivity growth above three percent annually only between 1996 and 2004. Since then, productivity has fallen to about 1.6 percent a year. General Electric argues that productivity growth will jump again as the industrial Internet emerges, connecting machines like turbines and jet engines to factories, and using analytics to make better decisions about maintenance and production.

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Are You A Master of Brevity Yet?

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Author Christopher Johnson’s new book Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little highlights the best ways to get messages noticed, remembered, and passed along. “Brevity is just a minimal requirement,” he says.

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Understanding informal decision networks

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Business use of “social network analysis” is in the news — and is a topic featured in the Winter 2009 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.

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The High Cost of Political Influence

“Political influence may come at the cost of lower productivity,” explains Anders Olofsgård, a senior fellow at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics. “Politicians are expecting something in return from you. One way to pay back politicians is through jobs. So you may be locked into keeping higher employment than you otherwise might be.” Olofsgård and co-author Raj M. Desai, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, argue that bloated staffs are no bargain for any company.

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