University of Gloucestershire invites debate on County’s productivity
The University of Gloucestershire’s School of Business and Technology has hosted a special conference for private and public sector leaders from across the County, who were invited to join academics to discuss challenges and future solutions for entrepreneurial growth in Gloucestershire.
Over 20 representatives from local organisations including GFirst LEP, NHS Trust, QuoLux, Hazlewoods, Gloucester Quays and Creed Foodservice gathered to take part in a wide-ranging debate, examining why Gloucestershire has an estimated 6.4% below UK average productivity rate, and is expecting a shortfall of 48,000 unfilled jobs within 20 years’ time.
Malcolm Prowle, Professor of Performance Management at the University’s Centre for Innovation and Productivity, outlined the challenges facing Gloucestershire.
“The definition of productivity is outputs, or an organisation’s products or services, divided by inputs, which could be things like labour, plants and equipment, or buildings and space,” he said.
“Unfortunately, Government figures show that in 2014 UK output per hour was 18 points below the average when compared to the other six members of the G7 group of industrial nations. This gap has shown a marked deterioration since the 2007-9 financial crisis.”
Stuart Barnes of leadership and strategy development specialists, QuoLux, added: “There are 1,450 companies in the County with more than 10 employees. We should be looking at what can be done to build a bridge to help them because these businesses are facing the burden of growth.”
Martin Sanderson of dental drill burs provider, Prima Dental, felt that the process of measurement itself was the biggest hindrance to better understanding and improving productivity.
He said: “National and regional productivity figures do not cascade well to manufacturing companies metrics are not standardised.
“This makes it difficult to truly understand the root cause of productivity performance and to create aligned strategies for improvement. At Prima we are investing in growth, whilst identifying opportunities for continuous improvement of our existing processes.”
Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Head of the University of Gloucestershire’s School of Business and Technology, concluded: “More needs to be done to proactively promote Gloucestershire’s successes. Housing and infrastructure needs investment and improvement, as does educating skills-ready employees and entrepreneurs.”