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6|May 2020 Slippery rock Gazette
    Training & Education
  Efficiency Vs. Effectiveness:
 Which is More Important?
Actually, there is a significant dif- ference between efficiency and effective- ness, and one is much more important to manage than the other.
Efficiency is normally expressed as a percentage of the result that could ide- ally be expected. In other words, if the expected pro- duction of a particular re- source is 10 units an hour and that resource actually averages 8 units an hour, it would be measured as 80 percent efficient. Another resource producing 12 units an hour would be measured as 120 percent efficient. In this context, a resource is defined as the machine and the operator combined.
It could be assumed that the latter resource is much more desirable. But, that is not always true. Consider the situation that the ma- terials being processed by the 120 percent resource are already in abundance, i.e. there is a pile of com- pleted work-in-progress following it. Is it desirable to continue producing at
Ed Hill
Synchronous Solutions
that resource when there is already plenty of inventory in place? More specifically, is it correct to continue producing efficiently that which you do not need?
A common definition of efficiency is doing things right. Each individual step of a system can be mea- sured against a standard. The focus of that approach is to encourage “doing things right.”
Consider this example: A process of 10 operation steps has all of them at 120 percent efficiency except the last step which is at 80 percent efficiency. The av- erage efficiency of that pro- cess is pretty good at 116 percent. Nine steps at 120 percent and one at 80 per- cent will suggest a very ef- ficient business operation.
But, of course, that sys- tem is clearly limited by that last operation. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” That busi- ness operation is limited to 80 percent of its goal due to
the demonstrated capacity of the last step.
So, what should be done? The answer may seem obvi- ous, but I see it all the time. Functions desiring to main- tain a given efficiency will continue to produce when it is only adding to an existing pile of inventory.
What if we take the per- son off of step one and place him at step ten to help its productivity? The person on step one would likely say: “What? I don’t know how to do step 10! I would be very inefficient there. Leave me at the operation that I know and where I am
very efficient.”
You, as the manager
should ask yourself this question:
Are you better off pro- ducing efficiently that which you do not need, or are you better off produc- ing inefficiently that which you do need? The answer is the latter.
Efficiency is defined as “doing things right.” Effectiveness is defined as “doing the right thing.”
I had the pleasure of work- ing with The Goal author Dr. Eli Goldratt for many years, during my tenure at Clemson University. He often said: “The most effi- cient plant is never the most profitable plant.” When I first heard him say that, I was surprised and confused. How could that be? My training and experience up to that point had been that higher efficiency was al- ways desirable. He proved to me that this is not true.
Temporarily taking a per- son from an operation that has produced enough inven- tory to serve the production schedule and placing him at an operation that needs help will increase the overall pro- ductivity of the system. It may do so inefficiently, but the plant will be producing what is needed rather than
focusing on a metric like efficiency that may lead to the wrong behaviors. Effectiveness, doing the right thing, can actually increase profitability. That approach will also control system work-in-process inventory to a manageable level.
This is one of the great- est lessons I learned from working with Dr. Goldratt. He called it “global op- tima vs. local optima.” It is better to consider the needs of the global system (all ten steps) rather than to optimize the individual steps. I often suggest that
production managers seek a higher altitude perspec- tive of their business. Get up to a mezzanine or even on a high ladder to see the overall flow of mate- rials through the system. You will see bottlenecks and inventory accumula- tion much more clearly. That perspective will help
you make better process flow decisions.
Another way to put this is production management should be about keeping the material and information flowing rather than keep- ing people busy. That is, keeping people busy doing the right thing. Consider the well-run Subway Sandwich shop when it is busy during lunchtime. The sandwich never stops moving. We can learn from that example.
Ultimately, it is all about continuous improvement. Forever.
Ed Hill is the owner of Synchronous Solutions. Visit his website www. or call 704-560-1536 for more information.
Efficiency is defined as “doing things right.” Effectiveness is defined as “doing the right thing.”
  Training & Education
  The Coronavirus and Your Stone Countertops
3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
4. Practice respiratory hy- giene. Make sure you and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tis- sue when you cough or sneeze. Properly dispose of the used tis- sue immediately. Flushing is a one way to do this.
5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Stay home if you feel
unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek med- ical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
A Final Word of Advice
As the coronavirus spreads, there is sure to be misinforma- tion on how it spreads. The best way to the truth is to keep an eye on the CDC and WHO web- sites as well as your local health department.
1.The Journal of Hospital Infection; “Persistence of coro- naviruses on inanimate sur- faces and their inactivation with biocidal agents”; G. Kampf.
Correspondence information about the author G. Kampf; D. Todt; S. Pfaender; E. Stein- mann Https://www.journalofhospital S0195-6701(20) 30046-3/fulltext
2.World Health Organization
Https:// emergencies/diseases/ novel-coronavirus-2019/ advice-for-public
3. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Https://
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2. It may be necessary to buff the countertop with a clean white terry cloth towel if streak- ing occurs.
3. Once a week, clean with a disinfectant.
4. All granite countertops should be sealed.
5. If the countertop becomes stained, immediately blot the spill with a clean paper towel.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the best way to avoid the coronavirus is to:
1.Wash your hands fre- quently. Regularly and thor- oughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
2. Maintain social distanc- ing. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

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