Monday, December 3, 2012

Productivity by getting employees to do more the way to go?

Seems like finally the newspapers are reporting what has been an open secret in Singapore. Most of the productivity gains that you see in Singapore are as a result of bosses getting employees to do more, or hiring of cheaper foreign workers, instead of investing in technology or streamlining of processes in order to achieve higher output. Getting employees to do more without an obvious increment will only give the company a bad reputation and you can be assured that the company will have some form of reputation amongst the job seekers.

With the tightening of foreign workers quota, many SMEs are now having trouble filling up positions within the company to even fulfill current orders, let alone expansion. Is hiring more workers the only way?

Coming from the technology perspective, it really depends. I do not deny that there are certain industries such as the food industry, that has heavy reliance of workers. Like it or not, to make good food, you need people. Machines can assist you in certain things, but not everything. You invest in a machine to create your food product and you may loose some of your competitive advantage as there may be a drop of quality as a result of removing the human touch.

However, I believe most work can be improved upon by using technology. It's just that bosses are too wary of the power of technology and prefer the tested way of doing business. For example, I have talked about Sakae Sushi use of technology in a post here which I believe helped them in their manpower crunch with regard to service staff.

I think it is time now to invest in other ways of doing business because like it or not, citizens have come to realise that we exist in this world not because of money. Our purpose in life has always been our loved ones, family, and I find it extremely disturbing that people are delaying interaction with their loved ones so that they can earn lots of money, and buy inanimate objects as a form of "love" to their loved ones. Is that the way?

Next is protection of PMETs which I hope the government will seriously look into it. I do not buy into the argument that PMETs do not require protection from the law. Like it or not, market will always try to get away with anything that will help them make more profits. If the law is not there to set the boundary, exploitation of employees, regardless of PMETs or other type of workers will exist.

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