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The Productivity Challenge

Whilst it may not be a surprise, the focus on Productivity was a major feature of the Chancellors Autumn Statement. The UK lags the US and Germany by 30 percentage points, France by 10 and Italy by 8.

Productivity is normally associated with manufacturing as evidenced by Philip Hammond's example of the German Car worker making in 4 days what takes us 5 in the UK. Productivity is a vital indicator to drive up efficiency, reduce complexity, and improve service to the customer.

It is also vital in Financial services for these very same points. Financial services firms all want to automate and simplify processes, give a better level of service to customers and reduce their operating costs. Improving productivity and focusing on value added effort by necessity leads you to develop solutions which lead to this.

Which is why it is surprising it is not measured well in the sector. The traditional emphasis has been on functional competence or Service Level Agreements and this masks the true productivity of the organisation or indeed a department. A recent EA analysis showed that 7 out of every 10 calls into a call centre was unnecessary if productive and simplified processes had been established in the first place.

So why is this? Partly it is down to measurement. Traditional reporting feeds are slow and functionally based. Cross fertilisation of work is difficult and not easy to identify.

Limehouse (part of the EA Group) is starting to address this. By developing automated ways of measuring cost and productivity, we are able to give the Industry a more precise picture of where productivity is lost and the impact this has on cost and service. With real information on an End to End scale, firms can measure the true productivity of its workforce.

Sean Tipping

Consultant at Limehouse Consulting & Strategy