Monday, February 1, 2010

Why compare Singapore to Japan?

I do not understand the obsession with comparing Singapore's productivity with Japan. There are always 2 sides to a coin. It's true that Japan is famous for its productivity, but one cannot discount that this rise in productivity do bring about other concerns which Singapore can ill afford to have.

Would you want Singapore to
  1. have one of the lowest birth rates in the world; or/and
  2. have one of the highest rates of suicides in the word 

I think you cannot deny the fact that the above 2 points are associated to productivity. So far, I've not seen many cases of companies raising productivity by investing in new ways of doing things or by upgrading the staff's knowledge. I guess that the reason is because all these efforts cost additional money.

In fact most of the reasons I heard are that so and so says that our productivity is low, so that proves that you guys/gals are not working hard enough. Therefore, I should assign more work to you to increase the productivity.

I believe the authorities should come out clearly that increasing productivity does not necessary equate to assigning more work to an individual. Personally, I also believe that the productivity measurement may also be skewed by the high income earners and should not be used as a gauge at all.

Moreover, productivity does not take into account the quality aspect. What's the use of having super high productivity if the quality of the product/service is not up to standard? Look at the recent problems faced by Toyota and Honda, leading to massive recalls. Is productivity that important? Or quality? I've seen this coming since they started outsourcing their manufacturing. I was just wondering how long it'll take before this happens.

To me, quality is one thing that I will not compromise. Do you think it's cheap to produce good quality work?

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