When I was training in Italy to make socks, I was taken to a factory visit.
When we walked into the production floor, I saw long rows of machines but no human operators. The machines were all humming.
I was shocked.
In my father's factory, one worker operated 4 machines. Here I could could count at least 50 machines running. Where were the workers?
Suddenly, a machine on my right stopped and the statutory red light light up. And lo and behold, from the far end of the room, a petite girl ON ROLLER SKATES came right up to the machine, fixed the twisted yarn, jammed the Green Start button and then smiled at me...
I asked her how many machines she operated.
'40' she said. 'Both these rows of 20 machines are mine'.
I asked her her salary. 'US$ 1000' she told me before gliding away to another machine.
My head was spinning. I did the math quickly. In my dad's factory, each worker got Rs 4000 (this is 1994). 10 workers were required to operate 40 machines. That means a salary of Rs 40000.
This girl costs 1000$ = Rs 40,000 and this was Italy!! And this meant there was NO labor arbitrage between India and the 'expensive' west!
She was 10x more efficient than my fathers workers, did not shout anti management slogans and certainly had no life membership to the elitist club of the Shiv Sena.
She was the real worker.
Games2win is 5 million monthly visitor site and we employ 50 people. We manage 350 games across 4 sites, and also an entire suite of iTunes games. We do everything ourselves, and the work day is quite challenging. Lots of people tell me that they cant believe it considering that Zapak has some 200+ folks with less than 1.5 million in UU's. However, each time I walk into Viacom's addictinggames.com office in San Francisco, I am stunned. They are a 10 man team and serve and entertain 20mn Unique users a month!
I always wonder if we in India really understand productivity. Its definitely not about slogging like a donkey for 10 hours in an office but really about getting things done efficiently. Its the smallest things like keeping discussions pointed & agenda's specific, about ticking off daily tasks and just USING common sense to do things.
One of the most common issues I have is when people dont know how to do something and spend a whole day figuring it out rather than just asking for help.
Adding employee strength is the weakest strategy to getting things done. I think its all about getting your existing employees to do their best.
This is all relative really, in my experience, the differentiator that we Asians possess at the global level is the ' jugaad ability' ... in corpo parlance this may be described as 'the ability to adapt to unstructured & hitherto unknown scenarios, and win thru out-of-the-box strategies' !
An organisation however needs to ensure that they use this ability of ours to get positive results, cuz it can go either way (-;
Nayana Somaratna said:
@Sandeep - this just my personal opinion, but is there really so much 'out of the box' thinking in our countries ? In Sri Lanka at least, most people tend to fall into a groove and can't get out of it.
Most people blame our education system which tends to emphasize 'rote memorization' and continuous slogging through lessons (although I personally think that people should just blame themselves for acting like cattle).
Sandeep Das said:
Personal opinion from Central Europe:
1. workers (on production lines or otherwise) are way smarter than their counterparts in the west
2. 'Out of the Box' thinking happens at all levels .. vs the west, where people are more used to following set procedures
3. Issues exist in terms of employee motivation ... people upto a certain level may not get paid well, or rewards may not be linked to the right deliverables.
4. Certain behaviorial- cultural issues (like wasting time, working late, etc) gets into the way of efficiency
Net, the positives, in India, far outweigh the negatives in terms of employee contribution potential.
With the right motivation and culture setting (which is perhaps what u r doing at C2W) productivity and innovation in India can and does go through the roof vs the west .. and your employees can be on jet skis all the time !
The "Firangs" mostly are brain dead..or let me say...with less grey cells...hence they employ more "Indians"...
Indians work 5-6 or 7 hours a day...as they do smart working ..& deliver optimum results..meeting deadine.........and then they surf facebook....which is also beneficial to business related information and research too...alongwith some personal stuff....
..I agree on personal calls..which needs to be restricted or banned....:)during work hours.....but not everyone is on personal calls since one is accountable ..those who are on long personal calls are wrong hires ..
Productivity is sure with super planning and focus and execution...and above all Indian's are excellent at multitasking...which cant be compared with "australians" or "firangs' :)
SANJAY DODRAJKA said:
I can add this with my experience of working in Australia.
In India, when an employee leaves for work - you hear his spouse shout out to him:
1. pls remember to call the plumber
2. Pls remember to pay the electricity bill
3. Pls remember to deposit your LIC premium
4. pls remember to call buaji/masiji and wish her on her anniversary.
5. Pls remember to ....... I can go on and on.
We Indians work just 5-6 hrs and spend a majority of time doing either personal stuff or on FB or chatting for good 15-20 mins at the cafetaria over a cup of tea.
In Australia (and maybe in other developed nations also), its very common to hear people respond to personal calls on cellphones - "Sorry - I am at work - can i call you back in the evening or on weekend"
There ,you would hardly find an employee paying his personal bills/LIC premiums/bills during office hours.
It just adds to productivity of employees and hence they can concentrate on their jobs.
Productivity is huge issue, and salaries r too low so any buiness would prefer keeping cheap labour instead process improvements, skill dev. and tech improvement which wd cost huge investments, we share a same work culture like our political leadership (2g spectrum).
also the guyes in ur sock factory now they will not loose there jobs come wht may, the Girl knows it that she will if she did not put on her rollerskets!!!!
Alok 'Rodinhood' Kejriwal said:
To drive home my point....if I had told my factory workers to wear roller skates (and operate just 8 machines...not 40)...they would have called in the Shiv Sena...