Labor productivity No. 1 factor for global manufacturing competitiveness, survey says

August 2, 2012

In a new global survey commissioned by Kronos Inc., Chelmsford, Mass., and conducted by IDC Mfg. Insights, labor productivity ranked the highest among all 11 countries surveyed as the most important factor for achieving manufacturing success. Factors such as modern infrastructure, government support, and foreign direct investment ranked in varying degrees after labor productivity.

Manufacturing managers, directors, and executives from sectors including automotive, food and beverage, machinery and equipment, and textiles in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the U.K., and U.S. were surveyed for current trends in global manufacturing.

Of the total respondents, 74.7 percent agreed that a high level of labor productivity is very or extremely important for achieving manufacturing success. Brazil, Mexico, and Spain scored the highest regarding labor productivity, with 82 percent in all three countries noting it to be very or extremely important. China, France, India, and Germany scored relatively low, with 66, 66, 68, and 68 percent, respectively.

When asked about factors that can improve workforce productivity, 68.2 percent of all respondents picked training and continuous improvement of the existing workforce as the top choice. Investment in technology followed next, with 63.3 percent.

Respondents also were asked about one strategy that they would recommend for global competitiveness. The winning recommendation, at a combined 45.5 percent, was that manufacturing companies should keep existing facilities as is and invest in workforce operational excellence methodologies, which comprise strategies for more effective labor cost control, minimized labor law compliance risk, and improved workforce productivity.

Kronos is a provider of workforce management applications covering time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics.

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