Hard Factors - Factors Affecting Productivity Improvement
Productivity of the product is determined by the way in which the product fulfils its customer requirements, either by achieving a very high output through arriving on the market at the right time, breaking into a particular geographical market, or being sufficiently cheaper than competitors to ensure a large market share. This is not a single or one-off activity, but one which requires the constant involvement of a large number of groups within the organisation such as design, marketing and quality to ensure success over the years.
Plant and equipment plays its part through such features as improved plant utilisation, reduced downtime or a more efficient layout of the machines. It is related to technology, through interaction with plant/equipment improvement mechanisms such as the development of condition monitoring equipment, computer systems allowing scheduling and communications improvements and the widespread introduction of robotics and other forms of shop floor automation. For these reasons (amongst others) firms must make considerable efforts to reduce the input cost of both, either through improved utilisation of current materials and energy, or by a reduction in the quality of those used (eg the modification of heating systems to accept lower grades of fuel oil, schemes to reduce scrap or material/process wastage etc).