The reasons for low resource productivity


Optimal resource productivity is an important goal in the implementation of lean production, because it has a significant impact on operating costs. The goal is therefore to maximize the overall output of the factory with minimal resource input. Lean Management focuses on increasing labour productivity to improve the following:

1. Missing or inadequate standards (standard work)

World-class Lean companies are characterized by the fact that they constantly question and continuously improve defined standards in all areas of the company. If working methods and processes are not standardized, results will vary from employee to employee, depending on the individual. One of the first Lean measures is to standardize all work methods and processes; these set standards are the basis for further improvements (Kaizen). In other words: without standards there can be no process improvement.

Often missing are:

  • Standards for the work of managers, department heads, supervisors and foremen
  • Standardised working methods and sequences in all areas
  • Consistent documentation (work instructions)
  • Standards for training employees in Lean philosophy

2. Incorrect plan times

Plan times are, among other things, the basis for determining the optimal production planning and calculation of work productivity. Measuring the planned times correctly and updating them continuously is an important task of management.

Common causes of incorrect plan times:
  • Process times were not determined in Gemba
  • Imprecise plan times due to inadequate working standards
  • No updating of the process times
  • No updating of master data in the event of process changes
  • Lack of management awareness of Lean philosophy

3. Standards are not kept

If working standards are not or cannot be kept, this is not necessarily attributable to the employee(s), but in many cases the cause can be found at managerial level.

The reasons for non-compliance with standards are often:

  • Lack of standards for the work of managers, department heads, supervisors and foremen
  • Lack of supervision and employee evaluation
  • Superiors lack authority
  • Missing data acquisition system: target / current
  • Lack of a management system for deviation analysis and corrective measures
  • Employees are not motivated

4. Unreliable processes

Another cause of low resource productivity can be attributed to unreliable processes, for example:

  • Process interruptions due to missing parts
  • Process interruptions due to quality problems
  • Machine breakdowns
  • Information errors, e.g. design, BOM, ...

5. Inadequate work organisation

For all work/activities there are preparatory and main (= value-added) activities. In manufacturing companies, the value added for the customer is created in production. It is therefore important that management organize work in such a way that productive employees primarily perform value-added activities. This means that the preparatory and main activities must be separated and standardized processes must be respectively established.

However, in production companies there is often:

  • no division of value-added and non-value-added activities
  • no optimal parts supply to value-adding employees
  • inadequate timing of parts supply

6. Poor workplace organisation

If the factory layout and/or work processes at individual workplaces are not optimal, a variety of wastes (mudas) arise, such as long transport routes, stagnation of semi-finished products or unnecessary movement of employees.

Examples of poor work flow organisation:

  • inefficient workflow due to poor factory layout
  • inefficient work flow at individual workstations
  • missing 5S standards

7. Lack of quality work

Quality problems are reflected 1:1 in operating costs, e.g. costs for rejects, rework, lost capacity. This also reduces resource productivity.

The reasons for low productivity caused by the lack of quality work:

  • rework / double work
  • misuse of capacity

Only results count

In our Kaizen consulting for just-in-time production to reduce operating costs, we follow the motto "only results count"!

  • KPC analyses your current situation, the problems and their causes.
  • According to the Kaizen philosophy, we create a tailor-made catalogue of measures and an implementation plan for your company, following our motto: "only results count".
  • KPC on-site support
  • The engaged and creative cooperation between our Lean consultants and the client’s team in the successive implementation of measures leads to Lean production with increased productivity and lower operating costs.