Quality, Productivity, and Striking the Right Balance

1 month ago Hutch Morzaria 0

What strikes first in your mind when I say ‘limited edition’? Probably expensive clothing, footwear, or an accessory from a high-end brand that you have been yearning for years. The pivotal questions arise here: What makes it a limited edition? Why is there a huge demand for it? How is it different from a product you bought from the local market?

If you have already made a comparison between the two, apparently you have the same answer as mine – “SUPERIOR QUALITY, LESS QUANTITY.” Wouldn’t there be a reshuffling of terms to make it the other way round, if we replace a ‘limited edition’ product with something that has ‘Made in China’ inscribed on it?

Here begins the game of ‘metrics.’ When it comes to determining the efficacy of a company and its output, ‘Quality metric’ and ‘Productivity metric’ are something to be taken into serious consideration. The two metrics, however, are in a constant race to surpass and win against each other. This leads to an imbalance that further results in negative upshots. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the metrics.

Measuring Productivity

Productivity reflects a company’s potential and effectiveness to achieve the desired set of goals within a specific period. Productivity undervalues output and lays its focus on inputs and resources used to produce them. The ratio of total outputs to a measure of data used in production is the measured productivity.

A simple Google search for ‘measuring productivity’ can lead to several methods deployed for measuring productivity. Multifactor Productivity (MFP) and Labour Productivity (LP) are the two most commonly employed. The former determines growth in value-added output, while the latter measures the growth of the value-added production per unit of labor used.

Consequences of focus entirely laid on productivity

 Let’s take a quick look at some instances –

  • The Green Revolution in the 1960s rapidly increased crop production to meet the growing demands. That brought the doom for organic farming.
  • China is turning into a global economic power, owing to production in enormous scales. Indian markets are overflooded with Chinese goods. The ‘imported’ electronic toy made in China that you just bought dismantled.
  • 9 to 5 jobs offer fixed working hours. You work for 8 hours, five days a week, and earn a steady salary by the end of the month. More and more people these days are ditching their 9 to 5 jobs.

Even though these instances seem paradoxical and very different from one another, the similarity lies in their productivity metric.

It has been observed that focus on productivity alone, often stimulate adverse responses. With emphasis solely laid on productivity and quality of an output compromised, the company usually gets pushed downhill.

That for sure, explains why the Green Revolution failed in spite of enormous support, Chinese goods find way only to the markets in developing and underdeveloped countries and 9 to 5 trend has been replaced by freelancers.

Measuring Quality

Quality is a pack of various attributes. It is mostly vague and cannot be measured directly. Measuring the quality of work or product largely depends upon its nature and customer satisfaction. Asserting that, quality can be grouped into different entities:

  • Data quality,
  • Product quality,
  • Service quality,
  • Process quality, and
  • Software Quality.

The first step involves identifying the entity to which the item belongs. Based on that, several other methods like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter (NPS), and Customer Effort Score (CES) are employed.

Consequences of focus entirely laid on quality

Focusing on the quality of work or product often bears fruitful results. The demand and popularity of high-end brands or can be solely owed to the superior quality of their products.

However, importance only to one aspect can never add to the company’s growth. Imagine your leader being obsessed with quality products. S/he is most likely to provide you with flexible working hours and extendable deadline. In such a situation of little or no workload, an employee will undoubtedly be reluctant to display his/her potential, thus restricting productivity and growth. One has to be inclusive of the other.

Striking the Right Balance

Why is it necessary to strike the right balance? — There is a reason you’re still yearning for the ‘limited edition’ product, I had mentioned earlier. Quality comes with its own set of pitfalls. The higher the quality, the higher the cost! Hence, in a world full of people, where not everyone is a millionaire, it is essential for quality to merge with quantity.

  • Be a good boss/leader. The secret of attaining the desired output in any work depends on the one supervising or leading the team. You might be in a position that already seems evil to your employees. The term ‘boss’ has been attributed with negative connotations, while a ‘leader’ has been associated with positive. Whatever the position you are in,  try to guide the team. Respect them as human beings. Don’t just throw orders, show them. The efficiency of an organization is only reflected when it has a kind boss/ leader.
  • Loyalty is an essential factor in determining the quality of a team. A person holding a personal grudge against the boss or any of the teammates is undoubtedly not going to put maximum effort. Internal conflicts should be kept at bay for the smooth running of the team.
  • Pair up the assets with the potential. A team is an amalgam of heroes and mediocre. Every team undoubtedly has members who excel in maintaining both quality and productivity. Such assets should be paired up with the members having similar potential. A rotten apple spoils the barrel. The asset can be the rotten apple influencing the possibilities.
  • Let Productivity and Quality walk hand in hand. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. There will be members who excel in quality but not productivity and vice versa. This calls for guidance and support until they attain their fullest potential.

Quality and productivity might in a race not stand a chance to win against the other. But friction between them is sure to cause spark!

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