Don't simply reduce overheads, material and labour to drive productivity, says Professor Roger Schmenner. Instead identify and deal with the variation, or waste, in existing processes.

"To improve your productivity you need to do two things,” explains Professor Roger Schmenner. "Reduce sector variation and reduce the throughput time. In doing so you will uncover all of the problems that occur in a process. You'll see what to fix and that's how the waste will come out and improvements will be made."

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