Productivity is defined as the rate of output per unit of input. Productivity can measure the efficiency of an individual, machine, or collection of inputs used to create outputs. In its broadest uses, productivity is used to measure the efficiency of entire systems – factories, business units, departments, supply chains and economies. For productivity to have relevance as a measure of efficiency there must be a clear definition of the following elements:
- Outputs – A definition of what is produced. A unit of output must be clearly defined in terms of both characteristics and quality.
- Inputs – A clear definition of what is included in the production of a unit of output. A unit of input may include the effort of an individual (e.g. hours worked) or a combination of many elements (labor, capital, energy, raw materials, etc.).
- Efficiency Baseline – Productivity as a measure of efficiency relies on a baseline expectation of what should be produced per unit of input. A baseline may be established through observation.
- Timeframe – Productivity is bound by time. To compare productivity levels the same timeframe must be used (e.g. a day, week, year, etc.).
Applying productivity measures to Support relies on the same principles as noted above and requires a clear definition of outputs and units of input. When productivity is applied as a measure of efficiency, there must also be an expected baseline performance. For Support, productivity is often narrowly focused on case resolution as the primary output. Measuring case resolution productivity is critical to Support, as it is the largest single output and consumes the most resources, but case resolution productivity cannot be considered the same as overall Support Productivity.
Successful Support organizations should measure Case Resolution Productivity but must also be cognizant of a more holistic definition of productivity that includes outputs beyond the number of cases handled or resolved. Support is capable of delivering outputs measured in terms of customers onboarded, customers satisfied, contracts renewed, revenue retained, recommendations generated, and revenue and profit earned.
Definitions for both Case Resolution Productivity and a more holistic view of Overall Support Productivity are offered within this report.