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What makes a productive company?

  • Balanced approach to risk
  • Innovative – from the top down
  • Ready to adopt new systems, processes, procedures
  • Open to input and investment (not just financial)

According to one Senior Productivity Consultant, productivity is often mistaken solely for employee performance. Instead, he believes the key behind a productive organisation is the alignment of a company’s strategy, operations and technology, underpinned by the right organisational culture (known as the 3-PoP framework). [Source]

Drilling down further into this, let’s take a look at your company’s productivity gaps and some ways to bridge them:


  • Does your organisation have one, or several strategies ongoing at the moment?
  • Do they underpin the bigger goals or vision of the organisation? (They need to!)
  • Is everyone in your company aware of the strategy, and their role within it, to reach success?
  • Are your company’s strategies still relevant and are they working? For example, if you have a goal of expanding your business into a new location, do you have a sales and marketing strategy that everyone is agreed on to achieve this?
  • Are you and your team flexible enough to change strategy when needed (changing market conditions)?


  • Operations is there to carry out your defined strategy(ies). Do your operations know what the strategy is that they are following? You might not think it’s important for the person in packing to understand your international growth strategy, but keeping everyone in the loop means they see their role in a much bigger picture.
  • Do you have a system in place to ensure that any change in operations is done only if it remains in alignment with your strategy? Remember which element drives which.


  • Are your operations optimised through technology? This needs to be a budgetary consideration when defining your business goals and strategy.
  • Do you have the technological tools available to analyse your organisation across all levels and make informed decisions when needed?
  • Do you have the right people in place to know what technology is needed by operations to ensure your business strategy is executed? You need to have innovators embedded within your teams to be proactive in changing market demands and trends.


The bedrock of all these 3 elements, however, lays in how strong your organisation’s culture is. Whilst you might find it hard to define a company culture, or recognise its relevance when you are trying to grow a company, it’s not something that can be underestimated.

According to innovation guru Stephen Shapiro,

A culture of innovation can be a company’s primary source of competitive advantage, and it can pay off steadily over the years. Any high-performance culture is difficult to replicate, but innovation is in a class by itself. Once embraced by employees, innovation becomes a way of life. It ensures that all the human capital is in step and striving to produce outcomes of value for the organisation.” [Source]

How do you create a productivity-focussed culture within your business?

  • Flexibility is key, especially towards your employees – they are your key talent. For example, do you have employee-friendly initiatives in place to respond to today’s workforce expectations?
  • Is your culture a supportive one where calculated risks are encouraged and tolerance for failure is high?
  • Are you communicating to your employees and involving them in key plans, milestones and achievements? Do they feel they have a role to play in the future success of your company?

The long-term payoffs of creating a productivity culture are not to be underestimated, according to Eu Pui Sun, Managing Director, Senoko Energy Supply Pte Ltd, “To build a productivity culture, initiatives must be driven from the top and be motivational with a focus on learning and development as well as employee empowerment. This will improve quality, customer satisfaction, morale, management succession and profitability.” [Source]

You are not alone

SMEs can also benefit from many local and government initiatives to help them boost their productivity in many ways.

  • In Singapore, the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) is there for companies to leverage innovative technologies that support growth and innovation whilst not sacrificing their cash-flow. Read more about the PIC.
  • The recently launched Technology Adoption Programme (TAP) by A*STAR in Singapore sets to achieve at least 1,150 technology adoptions by companies over three years and increase their productivity levels by 20% [Source]