The basic goal of nearly every industry is to increase productivity—and thus, revenue—without increasing costs. Exactly how to do that, however, remains elusive for many managers and business owners.
But some industries are leading the way in terms of finding ways to increase production without decreasing ROI. In the trucking industry, for instance, technological advancements like in-cab navigation systems and electronic fleet tracking systems are allowing for more efficient travel and delivery of goods. Other industries, like construction and industrial manufacturing, are following suit with new technologies to help enhance overall productivity. Even grocery store chain Kroger is using infrared light technology to help speed up customer checkout time.
But there are a few overarching themes that lead to success in this arena. Read on for a few basic ideas on how to inspire employees to be their most productive without sacrificing quality or service.
Set Concrete Goals
Workers have a difficult time knowing how productive they are without a tangible goal to shoot for. Decide whether you want employees to manufacture 10 widgets a day, or interact with 5 customers an hour, or log 100 interstate miles in an afternoon, and convey that information clearly with an emphasis on its importance.
Giving employees regular reports on their success—or failure—goes a long way toward enhancing the quality of their work. It feels good to be positively reinforced, which can lead to a continuation of good performance. And although criticism can be difficult to receive, it can also provide workers with a framework in which to set goals for their own improvement.
Good workers require good leaders, and that means all management at every level need to be adequately trained. Set up ongoing educational and training opportunities, and conduct regular reviews of management staff to ensure they know what’s expected of them. If your managers are at the top of their games, they’re sure to work well with and motivate the rest of the staff.
Employees are more motivated to work in an environment that’s up to date on safety requirements. They also won’t have to waste as much time being careful to avoid accidents in a well-planned and organized environment.
Although often overlooked, employee incentive programs can do wonders for increasing productivity. Hanging that proverbial carrot out in front of employees can be a great way to bump up numbers. The key is finding an incentive plan that works for your company; stock options are great, but they might not apply to small start-ups. Similarly, a free lunch or a gift card might be great options for some companies but might fall flat elsewhere. Consider what’s best for your business environment and go from there.
Follow the above tips to help enhance productivity—and, with any luck, your company’s bottom line. Just a few small tweaks can make a noticeable difference in efficiency—whether you’re managing a fleet of trucks or a manufacturing plant or a shoe store—and can make a given workplace a more pleasant place to be.