Bridging the gap in productivity
Dr Charles Douglas, chief executive officer (CEO) at the Jamaica Productivity Centre, believes a major obstacle that hinders businesses in Jamaica from growing and developing is an inability to measure.
Douglas told The Gleaner that this is one of the many gaps in the world of business that his organisation has identified and as such, is currently working to address.
"We are working with private-sector organisations to really strengthen their capacity to employ productivity improvement techniques. One of the powerful tools that we employ is measurement, it is a significant tool for organisations," he said.
"Building the measurement culture is really saying to them (companies) that when you measure, you can compare. So, if I am producing tins and I don't have a feel for what my competitors are doing, the only time I get a good feel of what they are doing is when my buyers say to me, we not buying from you anymore because we have another supplier who maybe is importing, because it's cheaper. Oftentimes, this is because I am not measuring and trying to benchmark against my competitors globally," he said.
Douglas, who is a trained economist, said that measurement is a critical tool that should be capitalised on if business are to remain relevant, especially with heightened global competition.
"We want to build a measurement culture where people are aware that if we measure, we can compare what we did this year as opposed to last year. We can measure and compare what we did this year with what competitors did. If we are behind in key measurements, we know that we need to do something about it; we don't have to wait until customers buy from somebody else," the CEO said.
"Measurement is critical in every aspect of the business. If you measure the performance of your employee, then you can use that as the basis to compensate them. You can use it to determine who needs training. So, really and truly, we are into measurement and we believe it is critical," he told The Gleaner.
Douglas added: "We have worked with companies that have really embraced the measurement culture. When we compare them with companies that have not embraced the measurement culture, we find that they are miles apart."
He also stressed that the basics of good customer service and networking should never be ignored, and urged business owners to seek ways of enhancing foundational skills.