Productivity Engineering

Productivity is one of those terms that all think they understand but consensus is not on the definition.  Ghobadian and Husband (1990) point out that the productivity concept is viewed in slightly various ways:

Technological Engineering Economist
Productivity view: Productivity as the ratios of outputs to the inputs expended in its production. view efficiency as the relationship between the actual and the potential output of a process. Productivity as the efficiency of resource allocation

Productivity can be measures in many ways but usually three traditional types of index productivity measures are distinguished:

Partial productivity measures ratios of output to one source of input, such as labour, capital, material or energy
Value added productivity ratios of net output (total output minus intermediate goods and services purchased) to the sum of associated labour and capital input.
(also called: Total-factor productivity or multi-factor productivity)
Total productivity measures ratios of total output to the sum of all input factors

It is necessary be able to separate partial productivity (i.e. output related to one type of input) from total productivity (i.e. output related to multiple types of input).

The Centre (cPPP) uses the term productivity as following:

  • We adhere to the engineering view (improvements) on productivity
  • We mainly use partial and value-added productivity

The research group is working on understanding Talent Engineering and the associated productivity dilemma from an industrial engineering standpoint, meaning: a system that transforms an input to an output. Taking outset in that the system is responsible for 80-90% of errors in outputs, a system view is necessary (actually, Deming (1994) maintained that 94% of problems are due to system design / management issues and only 6% special courses).  The question then becomes, what is the system, what is the input and output, who is the customer, who are stakeholders and for what.  This research postulates that we need to look at four main systems, the educational system, the students / employees / customers / members system, the organisations in which persons reside and finally the society.  It is within the interaction of those systems that the problem lies.  Looking at only one of those will only lead to sub-optimisation.  The current view on knowledge worker productivity has precisely done that.

Quality Engineering  and productivity are closely related.  Better quality should mean less rework (in widest sense) and hence better productivityEngineering Economics deals with the decision making that focuses on engineering problems. It deals with economics aspects of products, service and technical support. Engineering economics assumes that the decisions will lead to an improved productivity and presumes some technical knowledge of the decision maker. Engineering Design has major impact on productivity.  Productivity should always be underlying when designing products, services and systems. Production Engineering is the selection of processes that deal with the transformation of inputs to outputs. The goal is to design a system that has the best possible productivity. Production Engineering uses quality engineering, engineering economics and engineering design to get the best productivity.