What is productivity?

Productivity is about the effective and efficient use of all the resources in a business or organisation.

What are the resources of a business?

The resources of any business or organisation can be considered in three categories:

  • time, people, talent, knowledge
  • information, systems, finance, energy
  • land, buildings, equipment, space, materials

Productivity improves when you get more out of your existing resources or the same out of fewer resources, so increasing capacity, reducing cost, improving response, eliminating waste.

Productivity Explained Chart

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Productivity FAQs

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What’s the difference between effective and efficient?

Being effective = doing the right things

Being efficient = doing things right

Being productive = doing the right things well – all the time

Measuring how long something takes (time) and the activity involved (motion)

Productivity is often thought to be about working harder or faster and historically was linked with time and motion. In reality, productivity is about making the work easier, quicker; it’s about finding better and more consistent methods that will reduce work content. In so many cases it’s about better organisation.

More about time and motion

Productivity is about making better use of resources and, at many different levels, compares output/input. When using time measures, output is the work content. and input is attendance hours.

Time Motion Image

Productivity Pointer

How to identify problems of poor productivity?
There are lots of ways to identify symptoms of low or poor productivity.


Our key productivity pointer

The real responsibility for productivity or performance improvement should be largely in the hands of those organising the work rather than an individual worker.

What's at the heart of your productivity?

What’s at the heart of your productivity issue?

What’s at the heart of your
productivity issue?

Click here for lots of suggestions.

Click here for a step by step guide to improving productivity.

Productivity - the next steps

How to get productivity back on track – the next steps

We help deliver benefits in resolving cost, capacity and response issues because we’re about improving productivity.

Contact us to access the people with the tools and techniques to help improve productivity.

Click here for a step by step guide to improving productivity.

Contact us about Training to become an Industrial Engineer to improve productivity.

A sector by sector look at what affects productivity and how it can be corrected

See how productivity improvements can have a significant impact in your business sector