Work productivity guru brings techniques to UK [Scotland on Sunday]
(Scotland on Sunday Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE productivity of office workers can be improved exponentially, transforming their lives and the economy, according to a Scottish management guru now working in Seattle.Glasgow-born David Anderson is bringing his management techniques conference to Britain this week as part of his drive to adapt the systems that revolutionised manufacturing in the last century to the new knowledge economy.Anderson became interested in management methodologies while heading up the software department at Corbis, one of Bill Gates' companies. He noticed that some of the long-hours culture was counterproductive."There are a lot of well-paid, university- qualified knowledge workers out there nowadays," he said."They are in nice middle-class jobs working at desks with computers, but actually a lot of these people are very miserable at work and they struggle to get things done as groups."He adapted a technique called "Kanban", a system of fine-tuned production developed by Toyota in the post-war years, and left Corbis and set up consulting and training business the "Lean-Kanban University".One of the problems is that work in the knowledge economy is invisible, so Anderson finds ways of visualising it, often by putting boards up on the office wall to represent individual "work requests" and map out the workflow throughout the office.He says that when the work is visualised, it often becomes obvious that workers are being asked to do too much at once.The theme of his London conference, which runs from Thursday to Saturday, is "making better decisions". He said that, once managers recognise that there are limitations, they can start to prioritise the work that is done.These new approaches, which were being pioneered by others as well as Anderson, were originally popular among software and IT businesses, but interest is spreading into media, advertising agencies, and even some law firms.Anderson claims productivity gains of 200 or 300 per cent are common for those implementing lean systems. A BBC department using the technique managed 800 per cent.Austrian-American management guru Peter Drucker calculated that, during the 20th century, manufacturing efficiency had improved by a factor of between 50 and 200.Drucker laid down a challenge to the knowledge economy to achieve a 50-fold increase in the course of the 21st century, and Anderson is optimistic that target can be met.
(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]