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The Myth vs. Reality of Worker Productivity

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hwong
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the truth
hwong   6/22/2011 4:39:17 PM
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The truth is, Americans are very hard working. But yet they are not making enough to save for their retirement. You ask why? Because good paying jobs are taken away due to the greed of Corporate America. So the rich people get alot richer but the rest of us who are employees are just stuck with what is mandated of us.  We are 3 times more productive than 20 years ago. They ask us to do 3 people's jobs.  If you are upset. Then you leave. Then they lay people off and rehire cheaper workers either offshore or younger graduates.

 

So, what can we do? This is the reality of the society.

anandvy
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Re: The Myth vs. Reality of Worker Productivity
anandvy   6/22/2011 4:39:33 PM
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"With the long-term value of the dollar getting weaker and transportation costs increasing, there will be a point when local sourcing makes sense against offshore alternatives."

Ken,

 With oil prices softening, do you think this transportation costs will eventually decrease and make outsourcing attractive?

Mr. Roques
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Re: the truth
Mr. Roques   6/22/2011 9:14:42 PM
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Maybe by being TOO productive, then you can lay off a few people (when you do the job of 3, there are 2 people unemployed).

But yes, I get your point.

Hawk
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Re: the truth
Hawk   6/22/2011 9:44:18 PM
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@hwong, It's a vicious cycle. I recall the statement ascribed to former US president John F. Kennedy who reportedly said: "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." It was a noble statement worthy of a people moving together in a single direction. My country looks out for me and I look out for it.

Companies continuously tell employees something similar and it reads like this: "Ask not what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company." Well, this is wearing thin. My company looks out for itself (shareholders, who get dividends, and top management, who get millions in salaries and bonuses while employees get squeezed.) Workers aren't feeling the love that would make them continue to sacrifice for employers so we have all become mercenary in our actions. I do what is right by myself.

This is the right thing. If my company wants the best of me, it should give me not just the tools to do my work but also the remuneration that would ensure I don't end up as a "Greeter" at Wal-Mart in the twilight of my life. Better still. I understand now: It's not the company's responsibility to prepare me for retirement -- that's my job and I'll find a way to do it, with or without the company. Thinking like this frees me to strategize, plan and execute steps meant to make sure I'll succeed.

mario8a
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The Myth vs. Reality of Worker Productivity
mario8a   6/22/2011 10:28:18 PM
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Hello

one reason why there's so many people w/o retirement plan is because they invest their 401K on stocks and then loose money, I've seen people loosing everything other the stock market.

however, speacially for Supply chain it will be very difficult for USA to be a competitor on the procurement and achieve lower labor cost than ASIA and middle east.

 

Regards

prabhakar_deosthali
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Americans don't save for their future
prabhakar_deosthali   6/23/2011 4:04:08 AM
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The big difference between the Americans and the Asians is not the productivity but the life style.  Americans in general do not save . They live on credit all their life by overspending. As against this Asians are very conservative in their life style and hardly use any credit for their living. Asians start saving early in their life to make their retired life secure. 

Jay_Bond
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Re: Americans don't save for their future
Jay_Bond   6/23/2011 7:13:33 AM
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@prabhakar_deosthali, you've brought up a very good point. Many Americans, particularly when they are younger want to live for today. They want the best right now instead of later. Credit allows them to do that. They also tend to think that living comfortably and having what they want is better now than later in life.

@KEN, As for productivity, you are correct. This is more about a system than individuals. Before I moved into an office I was in production. Most days 3 of us did more work than the rest of the crew combined, yet as a group we were viewed most productive because of numbers. Hard workers cover up for lazy workers, and that’s not by choice just work ethics. 

 

DennisQ
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Irony
DennisQ   6/23/2011 1:03:05 PM
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Ken, let me start off by saying that I agree with your thoughts regarding worker productivity. Your thoughts did not make you unpopular with me!

But I do think it's a little odd that you start the article talking about how not-well-off many Americans are and how many people have given up on even finding jobs, but then later in the article encourage us not to buy American.

Don't get me wrong -- and it's not like I don't agree with you when you say that you should buy local when the value is there -- but I just thought the whole thing was rather ironic because it perfectly illustrated one of the many weaknesses with the current American economy.

hwong
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Re: Americans don't save for their future
hwong   6/23/2011 1:32:52 PM
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@jay_bond  - The economy of America relies on the way that American spend money. If people dont' spend the money and save up more, then retailers have fewer businesses and hence fewer jobs. That would mean the economy would be worse off. As a result, people will still be without a job.  The growth of America heavily relies on consumers spending and consumer confidence.

Ken Bradley
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Re: Irony
Ken Bradley   6/23/2011 2:07:11 PM
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DennisQ, Thanks for your comments.

I do not see my message being “don’t buy American”; but more, let’s make “buying American” more attractive. Inventory Controller asks about oil prices making offshore more attractive, I see the opposite. Over the next couple of years, I see foreign costs getting higher due to inflation, oil (and hence transportation costs) getting higher and the US dollar getting weaker. All of this makes buying locally in America a better value proposition.

But I don’t see the sourcing equation (cost here vs. costs somewhere else) suddenly bringing all jobs back. Each industry segment and opportunity will have a different in-source threshold so it needs to be looked at often as conditions change.  The missing piece, which Americans have always been good at, is innovation.

Innovation is what makes the US productivity number high; it is working smarter, not harder. In fact, working harder, as many America’s are doing today, is often counterproductive as in my example of being understaffed in procurement and foregoing cost reductions. Innovation allows companies to pay higher wages and still meet product cost targets. At a time when we need more supply chain innovation, I don’t see it.

 

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