Making Canada’s SMEs More Productive

by Musabbir Chowdhury
published by Ivey Business Journal, 2013
Ref 9B13TF05
 

Making Canada’s SMEs More ProductiveIt’s no secret that Canadian businesses have fallen far behind their foreign counterparts in competitiveness, writes the author of this article. Productivity levels in the private sector are considerably lower than in other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, while high levels of digitization combined with poor productivity almost certainly implies inadequate adoption of technology and a need for more R&D.

The author argues that while various government initiatives now exist to encourage investments in information and communication technologies, R&D, and innovation, it is now time for more private sector enterprises to become more productive and increase competitiveness on an international level.

Productivity programmes that can yield higher gains often fail to achieve significant results due to a misalignment of strategy, technology, operations and culture, says the author. To address this, he has developed an alignment framework called the Three Pillars of Productivity (3POP), the three pillars being strategy, operations and technology, which, says the author, should stand upon a base of solid organisational structure.

The article goes on to explain how, with the right culture firmly in place, companies can experiment with any combination of strategy, operations and technology, as long as they are aligned.

Musabbir Chowdury adds:

The extent to which Canada has fallen behind the United States, and several other developed nations, in terms of productivity is tragic. The disparity appears to be only worsening over time. In a startup firm, one expects there to be inefficiencies, as efforts are made to get the business off the ground at any cost. The trouble is that once a firm is established and is in a position to implement productivity improvements, focus on productivity and becoming scalable is often overlooked. This is true all over the world, but Canada in particular appears to be suffering from this oversight more so than many other developed nations.

Until now, there has been very little focus on applied productivity, especially with regards to small and medium size enterprises, a problem the 3POP model discussed in the article was specifically designed to address. In the future, I hope all companies will start focusing on productivity very soon after their inception because once a firm reaches a certain size, implementing any change whatsoever becomes extremely difficult. In the latter half of 2014 a book delineating a detailed framework of 3POP development will be published.

Purchase the full article now

About the author

Musabbir Chowdhury is the senior productivity consultant at Collins Barrow Toronto and manager of the productivity programme at Niagara College Business School.

Back to list of featured articles

Share this page:

A resource for business

Journal montage
 
We distribute over 8,000 articles published in a wide range of leading management journals and newsletters. 
  • Effective Executive
  • IESE Insight
  • International Commerce Review: ECR Journal
  • Ivey Business Journal
  • MIT Sloan Management Review

Find out more