It’s safe to say that companies and businesses want to run their offices or factories as efficiently as possible. Now, there is actually quite an interesting history about workplace efficiency. Let’s stop off at some highlighted points in time:
Taylorism. A theory on labor productivity originally specific to the manufacturing industry, its focus was on improving processes to allow the worker to operate at maximum efficiency. To develop this theory, Frederick Winslow Taylor engaged in much scientific observation. Taylor would stand and watch workers all day perform their tasks, then find ways they could work better and faster. Of course, not everyone loved Taylor. If workers were pausing between steps he found a way to ensure they were moving nonstop. Great for management in the short term, but employee happiness soon plummeted. A major strike in the United States in 1912 led the US Congress to investigate Taylorism and ban its use in companies granted Government contracts.
Henry Ford, dubbed by some the Father of the Automobile, created a concept known as Fordism. This all-encompassing term describes the mass production system he developed to allow cars to be manufactured at scale, with low cost, and while providing sufficient enough salary to the manufacturing workers so that they could afford to buy the product they built. This was achieved by streamlining many processes, but the most famous take-away was “the assembly line.” The Ford Revolution contributed to the establishment of the “working class” and had a dramatic effect on economic livelihood.
Toyota. This point in history signifies when Asia overtook America in auto manufacturing because of its unbeatable system of efficiency and control. I remember firsthand, growing up in America in the 80s, the propagandized slogans “Made in America” or “Buy American.” These were unfortunate attempts to encourage consumers through emotional sentiment to make purchases not in their best economic interest. They had a powerful peer-pressure effect however, and I recall the uneasiness with which my father made his first Honda Accord purchase. Since that day you will not see a car in our driveway that is not made from the Honda or Toyota company.
Computer. Ok, I don’t think I really have to explain this one. We all know how the computer has revolutionized the way we do business. If we are old enough that is. I wonder how many of you reading this remember the Commodore, I do!
The Smartphone. Ahh, the tool of the masses now, for everything from sharing photo memories with friends, to shopping, to learning, reading and writing emails, sending messages to colleagues and clients, and much more. With constantly improving network infrastructure across the globe, increasingly people are able to connect and engage in so many tasks and activities from the palm of their hand.
Applications. That word in and of itself appears limiting, but it is where we are in history. Smartphones are being produced with better specs and at cheaper prices. The race is on to develop applications for these phones, that is, tools and systems that amplify their power. Apps can come in the form of Uber, which brought about the on-demand economy and a plethora of similar services.
In the workplace, the smartphone has evolved from being a simple emailing machine (see Blackberry) to becoming a vessel for anything the imagination can conceive. Mobile applications need not merely perform one function, but can be portals for entire cloud based solutions for businesses. These solutions can enable companies to combat both issues at the core of human capital productivity. Target Goal: Productive AND Happy employees. On the cutting edge are solutions with interfaces that operate so seamlessly with the way we live and work, that they are a complimentary pleasure to have.