Tap into a “Global Productivity Mindset” to keep your business agile from supply chain to talent


hand holding glowing stylized brain to represent a global productivity mindset

Post 2008 global financial meltdown, we identified the ingredients of a “Global Productivity Mindset” – using your mission statement to drive innovation that maintains competitiveness even when market conditions change.

This was adopted by businesses that remained productive and profitable during that time of economic disruption.

Subsequently, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we noticed, businesses that maintained a global productivity mindset were able to innovate and tweak their processes rapidly to tap into new market opportunities. This resulted in resiliency and growth.

New packaging to serve a new demand

An example of resilience and innovation involved a restaurant that modified the method of serving food. This restaurant identified an opportunity to support truck drivers making deliveries across the Canada and United States border. During the Covid-19 pandemic period, many food outlets along trucking routes were either closed or limited services to drive-through.

Most trucks could not use the drive-through services. The restaurant modified their food packaging to individual serving portions of ready to eat meals. These meals were offered both as freshly cooked and frozen sealed packs. These individual portions were ideal for truckers on their long drives across the border and back. The frozen meal packs were convenient as these could be heated up in the trucks. This enabled truckers to continue deliveries in a timely manner.

The restaurant’s business has grown into a specialty supplier of meals for the trucking industry. An additional benefit was the popularity of these meal packs with students. The restaurant flourished and maintained its take-out unit even after the pandemic. There were no layoffs as servers were re-trained and deployed as packers.

Reaching a wider audience through online services

We ourselves, pivoted to providing lectures at the university using online video platforms. This enabled more rural and out of province students to register and attend classes.

Fellow lecturers at institutions across the country contributed ideas on how to make online teaching more effective. This experience has created opportunities to provide consulting and training services online to clients across a wider geographical reach.

Modifying products to take advantage of near-shore supplies

A local chef who had trained at a Canadian culinary college was able to modify Hong Kong comfort food recipes to the taste of his customers. He utilized ingredients readily available in abundant supply. By doing this he avoided supply chain disruptions in delivery of exotic ingredients from Asia.

Applying a global productivity mindset, he sourced for local ingredients through near-shoring for supplies. He retrained his staff on how to prepare these new menu items. With a more resilient supply of ingredients secured, this enterprising chef was able to grow his customer base and open a branch across the city.

A global productivity mindset helps businesses to stay focused on producing more with existing resources.

Many businesses responded rapidly to the pandemic restrictions by tweaking processes to ensure health and safety of both customers and staff. They limited number of customers entering the stores at any one time and provided hygiene training to staff.

To secure a steady supply, some stores consolidated the range of fresh produce and processed products to items having secured local and international suppliers. A productivity mindset encouraged initiative to ensure resiliency in the supply chain which resulted in continued profitability.

An international café chain has established a network of near-shoring suppliers to ensure timely delivery of fresh coffee beans to their café branches across continents. For their café branches in North America, coffee beans are sourced from growers in South America. Coffee beans for the café branches in Southeast Asia are sourced from growers within the region.Having multiple suppliers within local regions ensures reliability and resilience in their supply chains

Businesses can now pivot towards serving the growing population of middleclass consumers worldwide. This can be achieved through a combination of friend-shoring, near-shoring and re-shoring with businesses along the supply chain adopting a global productivity mindset.

Applying such a mindset to decision making on raw material sourcing or location of manufacturing can result in greater resiliency in the supply chain.

What makes a business able to pivot while others can’t?

We investigated as to why some businesses were able to adapt while others found it difficult to do so. One factor that stood out with those able to adapt was in the fact that prior to the pandemic lockdown the more agile businesses had business owners with a productivity mindset focused on maintaining cash-flow and customer satisfaction.

There was a steep learning curve for many businesses and those focused on productivity and innovation, were able to learn and adapt to the unfamiliar environment.

The successful businesses illustrated in this article all had a global productivity mindset whether they were aware or not. They remained focused on their vision and mission.

This resulted in innovations that helped maintain customer satisfaction while preserving cash flow. This combination improved productivity and promoted business growth.

Stay faithful to your long-term vision and use your mission statement to drive innovation that maintains competitiveness even when market conditions change.

This is the essence of a global productivity mindset, a critical asset that enables business leaders to achieve and maintain success.

Avoid cutting expenses that will cost more in the long run

We are now experiencing potentially disruptive economic conditions that include supply chain challenges, inflation and the introduction of artificial intelligence, all happening simultaneously across industries worldwide. In this environment, it is the most agile leaders with a mindset focused on productivity who will be the ones to succeed.

Some organizations have taken the decision to cut expenses by laying off employees in the higher pay bracket. This can result in a double loss:

  1. The morale among the remaining employees can go down, thereby reducing their productivity; and,
  2. When the economic situation improves, the organization will have to spend more on training new employees.

Adopting a global productivity mindset can help organizations retain their premium employees in adverse conditions.

3 ways to apply a global productivity mindset

To acquire a global productivity mindset, make sure your work processes are aligned to a long-term vision that shapes a mission driven productive work culture.

To inspire and drive productive performance:

  1. Encourage team members to seek out fresh perspectives, training, and flexibility in work practices.
  2. Match talent to job requirements, and challenge team members to innovate and adapt to change.
  3. Utilize the feel-good factor of achievement to encourage sustainable productive output.

Why not try tapping into the global productivity mindset to see how your business can utilize your existing resources more innovatively?

This article is an analysis based on the contents of the book; “Global Productivity Mindset” available on Amazon.

 “Vision and mission statements must come off the boardroom walls and be instilled into the workforce as a global productivity mindset driving the organization” – Quote from Page 12

About the author

Author: Siddha Param and Prashant Tipnis

Siddha Param LL.B.(Hons)(London), CLP(M) is a strategy and negotiations consultant with over 33 years experience advising Multinational Corporations (MNCs) as well as Micro, Small & Medium sized Enterprises (MSMEs) on leadership, strategy, export & import negotiations, dispute resolution and high performance. Prashant Tipnis MSc. is a certified Lean Greenbelt Champion, Canada; Change Management, USA; and Environmental Auditor in Kenya. His over 30 years of multicultural experience includes Operations and General Management; Project Implementation and Management and Leadership roles in India, the Middle East Asia, East Africa and Canada. Together they have co-authored "Global Productivity Mindset".

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